Mental health program aims to bring doctors to rural areas

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The VA just received accreditation to continue a training program for providing mental health in rural communities.

The goal of the program is to attract people from out of state, with specialized training, to move to more remote areas.

It's basically a psychology internship for doctoral students studying psychology, and the pilot program has already been successful. One of the interns that finished the program will come back to Grand Junction next year, to provide more mental health care to veterans at the VA.

"We have a high need in this country for good mental health care in rural areas, it's very hard to attract providers to these areas, so what we're hoping is if we get specialized training, we'll get a cohort of people who want to be in a rural area," Dr. Carla Nappi, Chief of Mental Health, said.

The program provides training specific to rural mental health needs, like higher suicide rates, opioid addiction, and depression and PTSD.

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