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Frontline Reports   |    
Peer Support Program for Veterans in Rural Areas
Shaili Jain, M.D.; Julia M. Hernandez, M.S.; Steven E. Lindley, M.D., Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.650704
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The authors are with the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (e-mail: shaili.jain@va.gov). Dr. Jain and Dr. Lindley are also with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto. Ms. Hernandez is also with Palo Alto University, Palo Alto.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

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There are 3.4 million rural veterans enrolled in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, and 32% of veterans of conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn [OEF/OIF/OND]) return home to rural communities. With a shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas, these veterans face significant disparities in accessing care, especially specialized services. Although telehealth is a somewhat successful strategy to address this disparity, geographical inequities in the distribution of mental health professionals are unlikely to change in the near future.

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