“New York State is a leader on many health fronts, whether it be antismoking, obesity reduction, or insurance coverage. But our state is also a leader in another area: we are among the states with the greatest shortages in physician supply. According to the Healthcare Association of New York State, the deficits are especially large in rural areas, which lack both primary care physicians and specialists. This situation hits particularly hard in rural communities since primary care doctors may be their only source of health services, including those for mental health.

The prevalence of mental illness is not much different in rural and urban areas, but the lack of access to and availability of mental health services are particular challenges in rural areas.”

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