Mistrust and Polarization Steer Rural Governments to Reject Federal Public Health Funding

ELKO, Nev. — When Elko County commissioners rejected a $500,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that could have helped the county create a health department or health district, Kayla Hopkins pleaded with them to reconsider. Hopkins, who has lived for nearly nine years in the sprawling rural county that forms the northeastern corner of Nevada, told the board how she struggled through postpartum depression and needed mental health resources. “I was unable to get the help that I needed,” Hopkins said during a public meeting in late 2021, adding that she fell into what could be considered a mental breakdown. She said she was sent by air...

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