Rural America is in crisis. A spike in suicides and deaths by substance abuse has strained communities already struggling with a lack of clinical and inpatient resources. But there is hope. Led by their local health systems, two rural communities in Colorado and North Carolina have rallied to meet the challenge — and they’re changing the fortunes of those that live and work there. In this two-part series, we learn how these communities are developing new and innovative solutions to build capacity for behavioral health services.
In today’s part one podcast, John Supplitt, senior director of Rural Health Services, AHA, and Jordan Steiger, senior program manager, AHA clinical affairs and workforce, start the discussion with some alarming statistics about the prevalence of mental health issues — including thoughts of suicide in many rural communities. Then Will Cook, President and CEO of Vail Health in Colorado, joins the podcast, to discuss solving the “paradise paradox” and stemming the surge of suicides in Eagle River Valley, Colorado.