Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


This article highlights the qualitative results from focus groups conducted as part of a Community Health Needs Assessments in two rural Georgia communities. Four 1-hr focus groups were facilitated with 32 community stakeholders. Sessions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis identified two primary themes: mental health and barriers to accessing health care. Focus group participants discussed mental health challenges as they related to substance abuse and suicide. Participants acknowledged barriers to access, including no health insurance, cost, eligibility gaps for government-sponsored programs, the low availability of specialty care, and poverty. Addressing mental health and access to care in rural communities may require alternative, tailored programs.