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Using Telehealth to Identify and Manage Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Conditions in Rural Areas

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Access to services, particularly behavioral health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services, is challenging in rural and other underserved areas. Some of the reasons for these challenges include lack of specialty providers and local primary care providers without experience in behavioral health treatment as well as concerns over stigma and lack of privacy for individuals from smaller communities. Telehealth can ease these challenges and support behavioral health, specifically SUD treatment, in a variety of ways, including direct patient care, patient engagement, and provider education. This is particularly relevant for the growing opioid epidemic, which has profoundly affected rural areas.