Cover: Mental Health Outcomes Among Patients Living in US Counties Lacking Broadband Access and Psychiatrists

Mental Health Outcomes Among Patients Living in US Counties Lacking Broadband Access and Psychiatrists

Published in: JAMA Network Open, Volume, 6, No. 9, e2333781 (September 2023). doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.33781

Posted on rand.org Sep 20, 2023

by Tarun Ramesh, Ryan K. McBain, Jonathan H. Cantor, Bradley D. Stein, Hao Yu

The U.S. has a severe shortage of psychiatrists, causing individuals with mental health disorders to turn to emergency departments. Over the past decade, the federal government has emphasized a multipronged strategy to bolster the psychiatric workforce, including increasing psychiatry residency slots and incentivizing clinicians to practice in underserved areas. With the onset of COVID-19, telehealth provided a vehicle for expanding psychiatric care access. However, in 2019, 21.3 million US residents, including nearly a quarter of rural residents, still lacked broadband access, forcing them to use only telephone consultation or no telehealth services altogether. This analysis identifies the prevalence of counties without psychiatrists and broadband coverage, describes their sociodemographic characteristics, and quantifies their mental health outcomes.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.