Community and Regional Planning Program


First Advisor

Dr. Yunwoo Nam

Date of this Version

Spring 5-4-2023


Khan, Ruhma (2023). "Assessment of Rural Behavioral Characteristics in Nebraska Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas" Community and Regional Planning Program. Student Projects and Theses.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the degree Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under Supervision of Professor Yunwoo Nam. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2023

Copyright © 2023 Ruhma Khan


Since the issue of substance abuse is a concern in the United states and many of the states face the shortage of behavioural healthcare workforce, the purpose of the study is to identify how severe the issue of substance abuse is in Nebraska’s Mental Health Professional Shortage Area Counties. The research further analyses the various environmental, and family and household stresses that contribute to aggravating the issue. The objective is to categorize the counties to prioritize the areas for treatment and prevention measures. The study includes determinants associated with availability of services and facilities as well as family and household stresses. A mix method analysis is conducted across selected determinants and substance abuse to identify the patterns and associations between them and further highlight the counties with severe cases of substance abuse and lack of required type of behavioral healthcare providers. The study also highlights counties with severe stresses and burdens among selected determinants that is putting the counties at risk of substance abuse. The information helps update the required agencies and departments about the counties requiring immediate attention in order to address the issues of substance abuse through different planning interventions. It further informs about the counties at high risk of substance abuse which will further help department to plan for prevention measures within the counties.

Advisor: Yunwoo Nam