Using Technology in the Delivery of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment in Rural Communities: A Review

  • Sandra Benavides-VaelloEmail author
  • Anne Strode
  • Beth C. Sheeran


Rural communities face tremendous challenges in accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Some of the most promising advancements in the delivery of rural health care services have been in the area of telecommunication technology. These applications have the potential to reduce the disparities in the delivery of substance abuse and mental health services between urban and rural communities. The purpose of this inquiry was to explore the advances and uses of telecommunications technology, and related issues, in the delivery of mental health and substance abuse treatment services within rural areas. A review of the academic literature and other relevant works was conducted and the content was organized into four major themes: (a) advantages of telehealth and applications to rural practice, (b) barriers to implementation in rural practice, (c) utilization in rural areas, and (d) areas for further research.


Rural Community Rural Health Telecommunication Technology Rural Practice Substance Abuse Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was made possible with funding from: Life Sciences Discovery Fund Authority, of the State of Washington; OGRD#109212, Roll, J. (PI)

Conflict of Interest

The authors of this work attest to having no conflicts of interest in the subject matter of this manuscript. Further, this work has not been previously published and is not currently being reviewed for publication elsewhere.


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Copyright information

© National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Benavides-Vaello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Strode
    • 2
  • Beth C. Sheeran
    • 3
  1. 1.College of NursingWashington State UniversitySpokaneUSA
  2. 2.DaytonUSA
  3. 3.CheneyUSA

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