Despite rural communities experiencing mental health and substance use issues at rates comparable to their urban counterparts, there exists a lack of the resources to match the needs of these communities. The National Rural Health Association has identified the following issues as contributing to the lack of comprehensive mental health services in rural areas: accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability (Rural Health Information Hub, 2021). Residents of rural areas are no strangers to the experience of having less or none at all of what is available in urban areas in general. The tenacity of these rural communities to do much with less may be one of their greatest strengths. By identifying the most pressing needs of these rural communities, and tapping in to the resilience that already exists within the communities, health care/human service providers can begin to develop creative and effective solutions to serve these rural populations.
About the Presenter
Whitney Fear is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She was born and raised on the Pine Ridge reservation, where her family has a small cattle operation. After finishing high school in 2005, Whitney moved to the Fargo-Moorhead community where she discovered a drive to pursue nursing as a career. She worked as a nurse in Emergency Medicine, Mental Health, and Community Health. While working in Homeless Health Services at Family Healthcare Whitney made the decision to pursue advancement of her nursing education to expand the services that she could offer for patients. Whitney completed her Master’s of Science in Nursing in August 2019 and is an ANCC board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). She is awaiting certification as a specialist in Perinatal Mental Health after having recently completed the necessary requirements for the same.
Whitney currently works at Family HealthCare in Fargo, ND. Her clinical specialties are trauma related disorder, substance use disorders, perinatal psychiatry, harm reduction and LGBTQ-2S emotional health. Whitney feels that an integral part of fulfilling the responsibilities of a nurse should include advocacy for issues such as health equity and social justice. Whitney serves as a board member for Indigenous Association. She is the current Chairwoman for the Fargo Native American Commission. In her free time Whitney enjoys spending time with her children (twins, Isabella and Remy), painting, creating traditional beadwork/quillwork and being outdoors.