Study identifies mental health disparities in rural schools
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, WSU College of Nursing associate professor Janessa Graves examined the geographic variations in the availability of mental health services in a weighted, nationally representative sample of U.S. public schools. The study is based on data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS) for the 2017-18 school year, the most recent timeframe for which the survey data is available.
Dr. Graves, the study’s first author, said “We’re seeing a pretty consistent pattern across the country that rural schools just don’t have the resources. This is especially troubling given the rapid rise in youth suicide rates, which is disproportionally affecting rural areas.”
The study concluded that significant inequities in school-based mental health services exist outside of urban areas. However, Dr. Graves was surprised to find that rural schools were 30% less likely to call lack of community support a barrier than urban schools.