Published: January 15, 2021
From the Desk of County Executive T.R. Williams
Mobile health clinic fills health care needs.
If you’re reading this in Lawrence County, you obviously like the lifestyle a rural community provides.
I love living here: talking to people I’ve known for decades; traveling uncrowded roads; looking at the farmland that surrounds my house. There’s no way a city could satisfy my requirements for a good life.
Unfortunately, too many of us are sicker than our urban counterparts. We have higher rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and suicide. In urban areas across the U.S., women live an average of 1.6 years longer and men an average of 2.1 years longer.
A lack of access to basic healthcare is one reason why. Rural areas have far fewer physicians, specialists, and mental health providers than more populated areas. Poverty and a lack of transportation are other related factors. That’s why I’m excited about Project Rural Recovery, a grant-funded program that addresses all three issues by providing free primary and mental health care in Lawrence County once a week.
Buffalo Valley, Inc., a Hohenwald-based provider of drug and alcohol recovery services, won a five-year grant to serve Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Perry, and Wayne Counties with a mobile health clinic. The remodeled bus is parked at Clark’s Gym, 2004 N. Locust Avenue in Lawrenceburg, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday.
Half of the clinic on wheels is devoted to primary care, the other half to behavioral (mental) health assessments and care. All too often mental and physical health are two sides of the same coin, so I’m thankful more Lawrence Countians have access to the combination of help they need.
Are there other reasons rural residents face greater health challenges? Absolutely. More of us use tobacco, fail to exercise regularly, eat poorly, and hide our need for help with mental health issues and substance use disorders. These are all things we can personally improve on, and influence improvement in our younger generations.
If you need free medical help, please take advantage of the new mobile health clinic. And please avoid future problems by taking better care of yourself. You are one of the reasons Lawrence County is a great place to live.