CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As we close in on the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are reminded that in many of our rural areas here in Texas, access to mental health care is often difficult.
According to the Department of State Health Services, all but about six of the 254 counties in Texas have a whole or partial shortage of mental health providers. And while most keep track of their physical health, the lack of options in rural counties can sometimes lead to people ignoring their well being.
Dr. Steve Bain is a licensed counselor and the dean of the College of Education and Human Performance at Texas A&M Kingsville. He told 3News that for many, access to mental health care services has to come through either the school or the church.
"I think we ought to be working closely with the school districts," Bain said. "We have to be working closely with the houses of faith to try to find ways that we can provide support and services, even if it's just an introductory-type service where someone comes and this person facilitates them and makes a referral somewhere else."
According to Bain, the key to bringing mental health services to some of our rural communities begins with addressing "the four a's," which are availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability. In reference to the tragedy in Uvalde, Bain said that TAMU-Kingsville has contacted the city and the school district, offering to help in any way they can.
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