Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



mental health services, critical access, rural health, MRHRC, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness

Publication Title

Journal of Rural Health


Previous studies have investigated the rural provision of mental health services by FQHCs and CMHCs (Wagenfeld, 1994; Hartley et al., 2002). However, there is little documentation of the extent to which ERs provide mental health services in rural communities. This paper provides new information about the role of rural ER’s in the provision of mental health services, gathered from a structured telephone survey of ER managers in a nationally representative sample of Critical Access Hospitals, and from service logs completed by ER staff. Specifically, we have sought to determine 1) what proportion of ER encounters involve mental health pathology; 2) what kinds of mental health problems are most commonly seen in these encounters, and; 3) what resources are available to CAHs to address the problems they encounter.

Funding Organization or Grant

This study was funded by a grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, DHHS (Grant # 4-R04RH01305-01-03).