Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Amanda Olejarski, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela Kline, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jenna Gress-Smith, Ph.D.


After their service commitment has concluded, United States servicemembers are evaluated to what medical ailments and afflictions, both mental and physical, are attributed to their military service. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the government agency that is specifically tasked with the treatment and care of that exam and continuously works on this overwhelming endeavor as military members transfer out from their respective branch of service. One area that is outside of the VA’s control is where veterans will reside upon their separation from the military. When it comes to rural areas, the access to resources, primarily for this study, mental health resources, are very limited. This study examines the mental health care resources available within the rural areas of Texas and gives a quantitative analysis in how the VA and in Texas Health and Human Services are addressing the mental health issues afflicting veterans. Through a community needs assessment, this study evaluates what approaches would work best in Texas and assist in the identification of mental health treatment methods that can be utilized in rural areas, while also taking into consideration the different types of technological mediums that veterans in rural areas can use to gain access to more mental health care resources and how programs are being implemented. Through review of the MISSION Act and discussion of the manner in which this piece of legislation directs the VA to implement policies that directly affects veterans, to include the discussion of the moves towards privatizing the VA, a public administration policy literature review is conducted inclusively of this study. It is determined that there are significantly no differences between rural and urban mental health providers, and that mental health care providers are willing to provide treatment as long as the VA is providing funding and training to these providers.