Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care

Date:
February 5, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Women living in rural communities are less likely than urban-dwelling women to receive sufficient mental health care, in large part due to limited access to services and societal stigma, according to medicine and public health researchers.

Women living in rural communities are less likely than urban-dwelling women to receive sufficient mental health care, in large part due to limited access to services and societal stigma, according to medicine and public health researchers.

Some reports indicate that rural women are more likely than urban women to have depressive mood and anxiety symptoms. However rural women do not have adequate access to mental health care, compared with city women. Rural women who do seek mental health help are more likely to receive care from their primary physician than are urban women.

"We asked rural primary care physicians about how they care for women's mental health," said Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld, primary care physician and assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. "Theirs is an important perspective because rural primary care physicians provide a substantial proportion of mental health services for their patients."

McCall-Hosenfeld and colleagues interviewed 19 primary care physicians who provide care to rural women in central Pennsylvania. The physicians answered questions that focused on screening and diagnosis of mental health conditions, barriers to treatment among rural women, management of mental illnesses in rural women and ideas to improve care for this population. The questions focused on practicing medicine in rural areas and specifically about providing care to rural women. The researchers report their findings in the current issue of Mental Health in Family Medicine.

As of 2005, only 7.4 percent of all U.S. psychiatrists practiced in a rural area. Primary care physicians in rural communities experience significant barriers in providing care to rural women with mental health problems. They commonly reported caring for mental health conditions that were often outside the scope of their training.

"I do a lot of psychiatry in my practice that I really wish I didn't have to do, but I do it because someone's got to do it," said one of the primary care physicians interviewed by the researchers.

Another problem, as several primary care physicians reported to the researchers, results from the stigma surrounding mental health.

"Rural women may not want to be seen walking into the office of a mental health care provider due to fear of judgment by family and friends," the researchers noted in the article.

Identification of mental illnesses was another challenge. About one-third of the physicians reported that they routinely screened for depression, while others stated that time constraints and competing priorities would not allow them to regularly screen patients. Identification of post-traumatic stress disorder among rural women may be particularly challenging because some of the rural doctors did not feel that PTSD was likely to affect rural women. Most of the physicians noted that many of their patients were underinsured and did not have mental health coverage.

"Despite the barriers to optimal healthcare, we found that many of the physicians are seeking creative solutions and developing informal networks with mental health care professionals for consultation," said McCall-Hosenfeld. "This study reinforced the fact that there are problems with access to health care in rural communities, but also provided some examples of potential solutions to those access issues, such as formalizing and expanding existing consulting networks.

"We need a two-pronged approach. We need to improve access to mental health care in rural communities and we need to address the stigma of mental health issues by helping rural women understand that being depressed, for example, is not something to be ashamed of."

An abstract to the article can be found online at: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rmp/mhfm/2013/00000010/00000004/art00001


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by Victoria M. Indivero. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colon-Gonzalez, Maria C; Mccall-Hosenfeld, Jennifer S; Weisman, Carol S; Hillemeier, Marianne M; Perry, Amanda N; Chuang, Cynthia H. 'Someone's got to do it' – Primary care providers (PCPs) describe caring for rural women with mental health problems. Mental Health in Family Medicine., December 2013

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125512.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, February 5). Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125512.htm
Penn State. "Rural primary care physicians offer insight into rural women's health care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140205125512.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins