Life in rural America is widely seen as one of peace and quiet, in stark comparison to the hustle and bustle of the cities. Everyone seems to know their neighbor. And going to the grocery store or out to dinner usually involves a long drive.
That solitude is prized among many in rural areas. But it can also make access to health care more difficult. The National Institute of Mental Health says rural and urban rates of mental disorders are pretty much the same, but education and resources are lacking in the rural areas. The rate of suicide is also higher.
Missouri Ozarks Community Health (MOCH) has four behavioral health professionals on staff to help fill the gaps. They work on a rotation at six Ozarks clinics in Ava, Gainesville, Mountain Grove, Houston, Cabool, and Mansfield. A range of services is available including:
- Referral for long-term psychotherapy
- Medication evaluation
- Substance abuse counseling
Access to resources is only part of the challenge. Carla Trick, a licensed professional counselor at MOCH, says there’s still a stigma attached to mental health care and those who receive it. “People don’t really believe that it can be beneficial, don’t see the point of it, that if you go to therapy, you must be crazy,” said Trick.
Trick said much of those initial consultations are spent educating patients on the role of mental health care and its benefits. “Just having someone to talk about something and that it won’t come back to haunt you,” said Trick. “We do deal with problem solving. You know, just helping people kind of sort things out. We don’t want to tell people what to do, but we want to sit and help them figure out how to solve problems.”
Behavioral healthcare at Missouri Ozarks Community Health is tied to medical care. Trick said it’s about keeping those “lines of communication open.” She said “I have medical providers who will just come in my office and say ‘I referred this person to you. This is what I see going on.’”
If you need behavioral health services at MOCH, or are interested in finding out more, you must first set up an appointment with a medical provider, who will then make a referral. You can reach the clinics at Missouri Ozarks Community Health at the numbers below:
- Ava Clinic: (417) 683-5739
- Gainesville Clinic: (417) 679-2775
- Mansfield Clinic: (417) 924-8809
- Cabool Clinic: (417) 962-5422
- Mountain Grove Clinic: (417) 926-1713
- Houston Clinic: (417) 967-0772