John Ronnau


Those of us committed to the tenets of Family Preservation must advocate for increased awareness and attention to the needs of children and their families in rural America. "Country roads" and the rural spaces they traverse have been eulogized by many poets and song writers as ideal places to live. But they may not be ideal for everyone. The past few months, it has become all too evident that rural America is not immune to acts of extreme violence by troubled children. Even though almost 1/3 of American youth live in rural areas, they have been "virtually ignored by mental health service planners and providers"(Cutrona, Halvorson, & Russell, 1996, p. 217). Mental health risk factors such as poverty, parental alcohol abuse, and family instability are on the rise in rural areas, and there has been an increase in suicide attempts, family violence, depression, and alcohol abuse (Cutrona, Halvorson, & Russell, 1996; Petti & Leviton, 1986; National Mental Health Association, 1988). Native Americans are especially concerned about the increases in child abuse and neglect, depression, substance abuse, and suicide in their communities.