Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

David Roseborough


Social Work


America’s aging population is increasing and mental illness among older adults continues to go under-diagnosed and under-treated. The purpose of this research was to collect data and information on the resources available to older adults living with mental illness in rural Minnesota. This research was informed primarily by the text Rural Mental Health: Issues, Policies, and Best Practices (2012). A survey was conducted utilizing both quantitative and qualitative questions developed by the researcher. The survey was distributed to 153 recipients in 14 counties surrounding Central Minnesota, with an 11% total response rate. Respondents were primarily county-affiliated, identified as social workers with significant practice experience working with adults in both a rural and urban areas. Three major categories emerged within the data: service delivery challenges, service delivery opportunities, and new innovations in mental health service delivery. Findings suggest that two common barriers to accessing mental health services are stigma and shortage of geriatric trained providers. Findings also suggest promising service delivery methods such as telehealth and in-home services as an option for older adults in rural areas.

Included in

Social Work Commons