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Texas A&M University-Kingsville to sponsor International Rural Mental Health Conference

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Texas A&M University-Kingsville is an official co-sponsor of the International Rural Mental Health Conference: Tackling Isolation and Fostering Connections.


Along with A&M-Kingsville, conference sponsors include the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Inverness College and the Scottish Rural Health Partnership. The conference is scheduled for August 2019 at UHI, Inverness College in Inverness, Scotland.


The primary conference emphasis relates to international and global perspectives of rural mental health. Supportive topics include isolation and loneliness in rural/remote areas, creativity for dementia care, technological approaches, learning from lived experience, mental health and wellbeing in the rural workforce, rural mental health research and scholarship, rural mental health and young people and community-led initiatives for rural mental health and wellbeing.


"As a co-sponsor of this historic event, A&M-Kingsville’s role is to expand research, collaboration, advocacy and dialogue as it relates to a global view of rural mental health," said Dr. Steve Bain, Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling.


According to Bain, the conference represents significant success for mental health advocacy, particularly rural mental health advocacy. Worldwide, 1 out of 6 people suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder or substance abuse issue. The lack of services and research within rural areas suggests that number might even be larger.


Bain and Dr. Sarah-Anne Munoz of UHI are engaged in a number of collaborative ventures including conference presentations, a textbook publication, study abroad student groups and research related to rural and remote communities across the globe.


“Texas A&M-Kingsville serves areas in South Texas which are considered Health Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs). These areas appear to have similarities to rural areas in the northern parts (The Highlands) of Scotland. Texas A&M University-Kingsville seeks to continue the successful research agenda in the area of rural mental health with the SRHP partnership including UHI, Inverness. This collaboration will be extremely helpful in addressing the mental health needs of rural populations on an international scale,” Bain said.


“I am grateful for the support of our administration, particularly Dr. Allen Rasmussen, who helped negotiate the UHI/TAMUK collaboration. Having this international stage communicates to the world that Texas A&M University-Kingsville and UHI are serious about addressing the mental health issues for rural areas across the world,” Bain said. 


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