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New Research Highlights Mental Ill Health Issues In Rural Scotland

Last year, little was known about how people with mental ill health across rural Scotland experience their day to day lives. In August and September 2016, Support in Mind Scotland joined forces with Scotland’s Rural College to carry out a survey which asked people who experience mental ill health to tell us what it’s like living in rural Scotland today. Hundreds of people responded from Galloway to Stornaway and Berwick to Lerwick. This survey, for the first time, gave people a voice. Those experiencing mental health issues told us that connecting locally is really important, and that ordinary links with people in their community play a key role in helping to overcome stigma, isolation and remoteness.

Connecting people in their communities is something that the new National Rural Mental Health Forum is seeking to do. Jim Hume, the convenor/manager of the Forum for Support in Mind Scotland, says:

“The research findings from the rural mental health survey now give us the evidence to help us tackle mental ill health in rural Scotland. We know that one in four Scots suffer mental ill health at some point in their lives, and now we know that tackling mental ill health in rural Scotland has its own challenges. 

Mental ill health can be more difficult to tackle in remoter parts of Scotland, due to isolation, transport issues and stigma. The National Rural Mental Health Forum is in a unique position to help rural communities tackle mental ill health through the outreach of the rural organisation members of the Forum, the expertise of mental health organisation members and this ground breaking research. 

Mental ill health can be prevented and can be treated, especially with early intervention. The Forum and its members are keen to take action by raising awareness in rural communities and normalising talking about mental ill health."

Notes for Editors:

1.   The Support in Mind Scotland(SiMS)/Scotland’s Rural College > (SRUC) survey took place in August-September 2016 and generated hundreds of responses from 94 rural postcode areas, from islands and other remoter parts of rural Scotland, to rural areas around towns and cities.

2.   The full survey report is available from SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre: > from 12.30pm on 19th April 2017 and is also attached to this email. For further questions about the survey findings, please contact Professor Sarah Skerratt:

3.   The National Rural Mental Health Forum had its first meeting on November 29th2016. At its March meeting (7th March 2017), it was announced that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity was funding the Forum for a 6-month period to “help people in rural areas maintain good mental health and wellbeing. This Forum will help develop connections between communities across Scotland, so that people can receive support when and where they need it” (p.20). For further information on the National Rural Mental Health Forum, please contact Support in Mind Scotland's convenor/manager Jim

4.   In the Scottish Government’s new 10-year Mental Health Strategy >Action 12 states that the Strategy will “Support the further development of the National Rural Mental Health Forum to reflect the unique challenges presented by rural isolation”.



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