A Solution-Oriented Approach for Access to Rural Mental Health Care – archived webinar

Originally presented on April 6, 2009

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Presentation Slides in PDF



Funded by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health

This webinar will address access to mental health care in rural communities. The challenges and barriers providing mental health service access over large and sparsely populated geographic areas will be described.  The awareness, prevention and intervention roles of state and social service agencies in delivering public mental health services will be reviewed.  A conceptual model for improving rural access will be offered, followed by a presentation of the successful story of improving the services of mental health awareness, prevention and intervention in a small rural county.



Participants in this web-conference will be able to:

1. Understand the scope of rural demographics  in Illinois and define what we mean by rural area.
2. Describe the state funded system of public mental health care and how to access already existing services.
3. Elaborate on the challenges and barriers to rural mental health access.
4. Offer proven solutions for overcoming service fragmentation by increasing public awareness and investment in community collaboration.


Target Audience

IPLAN Coordinators, administrators and other community health partners invested in improving access to mental health care in rural communities are encouraged to participate. The web-based broadcast session will be followed by a live question and answer and sharing session to discuss additional barriers and solutions.



Jordan Litvak, DHS Dept of Mental Health

Jordan Litvak, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with more than 30 years of behavioral health experience as a clinician and administrator in both the public and private sectors.  Since 2004, he has served as the Regional Executive Director for the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health for Regions Three and Four.  The two regions are comprised of 52 counties in Central Illinois.  His office oversees the use of state funds going to mental health centers, the vast majority of which are in rural areas. His areas of interest are in supported employment, mental health and justice, primary care and mental health integration and in particular, access to rural mental health services.

Gail Ripka, Henry and Stark County Health Departments

Gail Ripka has served as the Administrator of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments since 1996.  Prior to joining the Health Department, she functioned as the Vice President of Professional Services at Kewanee Hospital.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of St. Francis. Ms. Ripka is a founding member of the Stark County Citizen’s Mental Health Task Force.  The Task Force is responsible for bringing full time mental health services to Stark County as well as providing education and advocacy to the residents of the community.