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Facts & Figures: COVID-19 in Rural America

Remote Chance: Rural Health Care in America, a digital-first series of short films by award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Arledge, made possible by

More than half of rural Americans say the pandemic has impacted their mental health…

Half of rural adults (53%) say the pandemic has impacted their mental health at least some, while 44% say it has not been impacted much or at all.

Three in five rural adults (61%) say the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mental health in rural communities a lot or some.

… And young people are even more likely to report an impact on their mental health

Younger rural adults are more likely than older rural adults to say the pandemic has impacted their mental health a lot. Younger rural adults also are more likely than older rural adults to say stress and mental health have become more of a problem in their community and personally in the past year.

And younger rural adults are more likely than older rural adults to be very confident they would be able to spot the warning signs of a mental health condition in an immediate family member or close friend.

Unemployment during the pandemic has generally been highest in rural regions…

After the pandemic started, U.S. unemployment surged to levels not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s. In March 2020, the unemployment rate began to rise.

Although unemployment rates in March 2021 varied substantially across counties in the U.S., the highest unemployment rates were generally evident in parts of the Northeast region.

… Including Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, and the Southwest

Unemployment rates were markedly higher Appalachia and in the northern Midwest region, the lower Mississippi Delta and parts of the South Atlantic division the South region, Texas, much of the Mountain region, and most of the Pacific region.

In nonmetro counties, the highest unemployment rate occurred in mining-dependent counties (6.5 percent).

About the Series

Remote Chance: Health Care in Rural America is a series leading to the upcoming 2023 documentary Critical Condition: Health Care in Rural America (WT), a production of Gurney Street Films and WETA Washington, D.C. Produced, directed and written by Elizabeth Arledge.

Support for Remote Chance: Health Care in Rural America provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

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