The National Association for Rural Mental Health (NARMH) and AgriWellness, Inc. request financial support from the AHRQ to hold our first joint conference on June 22 - 25, 2011 at Dubuque, IA. The NARMH is an interdisciplinary organization with approximately 420 members that was founded in 1977 to develop and enhance rural mental health and substance abuse services and to support behavioral healthcare providers in rural areas. Recognizing the role that consumers and their families play in recovery, the NARMH has proactively supported initiatives that strengthen the voices of rural consumers and their families to carry out its mission: """"""""linking voices to promote rural mental health."""""""" AgriWellness, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2001 to coordinate the provision of behavioral health supports to persons involved in agriculture in the upper Midwest. The organization has become a leading voice for agricultural people throughout the U.S. The AgriWellness mission is to """"""""promote accessible behavioral health services for underserved and at-risk populations affected by rural crisis in agricultural communities."""""""" The NARMH has held a conference yearly since 1979. AgriWellness, Inc. has sponsored four biannual conferences called """"""""The Clock is Ticking for Rural America: A Behavioral Health and Safety Conference."""""""" Capitalizing on their strengths, both organizations determined to join together for their 2011 conference. The primary objective of the conference is the dissemination and implementation of research findings and evidence-based information and tools. Research development, research training, infrastructure and career development are secondary but integral purposes of the conferences. Navigating the Currents of Change aims to improve behavioral healthcare of an AHRQ priority population: residents of rural areas, including those designated as frontiers and the special populations who live in rural areas, including children, the elderly, persons involved in agriculture who have behavioral healthcare needs associated with their occupation, persons with disabilities and those who need chronic behavioral healthcare. This conference addresses the significant unmet or underserved needs of rural and agricultural residents for behavioral healthcare. The conference seeks to enhance research and service delivery in five main conference tracks: 7 Responding to the increasing diversity of rural and agricultural people; 7 Reducing the growing disparities in delivering behavioral healthcare to rural America; 7 Enhancing disaster behavioral health services in rural areas; 7 Responding to the special issues of deployed soldiers as they return to their families and rural communities;and 7 Understanding and reducing domestic violence in rural America. The conference organizers will undertake a comprehensive evaluation that determines how well the conference meets the needs of its estimated 265 participants and the extent to which they indicate advances in knowledge and skills. The participants will be asked to complete conference and individual session evaluations. Moreover, it is proposed that the conference will lead to at least six articles that are accepted for publication in refereed journals. Finally, it is proposed that the conference participants will identify at least two new steps for advancement of the field of agricultural behavioral health.
This project carries out a key goal from Healthy People 2010: Improve mental health and ensure access to appropriate, quality mental health services. Not only was this goal retained in Healthy People 2020, but reduction of major depression was added to this most recent version of the strategic plan. Navigating the Currents of Change seeks to improve the behavioral health of rural and agricultural people, populations with higher than average rates of depression and reduced access to necessary services.