Support in Mind Scotland has just completed a community-based wellbeing project called Highlands & Islands Connections, and we're proud to premier this new video that tells you more about the project's success for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

Building on a previous research project, this initiative was all about exploring how to strengthen community connections so to make a positive difference to the mental well-being of people living in rural areas.

The project, funded through the Scottish Government’s Aspiring Communities Fund with support from the European Social Fund, had two pilot locations in The Uists and Benbecula and the Isle of Mull.

Ros Halley, Highlands & Islands Community Connections Manager, said:

"I'm delighted to see our latest film Caring Connected Communities launch this week as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. The film captures examples of the range of good community work going on across our two pilot areas in the Highlands & Islands Connections Project and follows the team as they test out different ways of building more caring, connected places.

Filmed by Prancing Jack Film Productions over 12 months, the film involved many groups and organisations as well as capturing insights from national stakeholders including the Clare Haughey, Minister for Mental Health.  Mull Safe and Sound, Mull & Iona Community Trust and the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust on the Isle of Mull are just a few groups featured. In the Uists and Benbecula, Grimsay Community Association, Cothrom, Museum nan Eilean and Tagsa also share their experience.

Filming for the project finished just days before the country was put into lockdown due to the Coronavirus. The film is a powerful reminder of the incredible role that communities play in our mental health and a poignant reminder of how fragile our world is and how much we all miss having community connections in our everyday life."

It is hoped that the project will be a catalyst for change by creating a conversation about the role the community when it comes to improving lives in rural areas. Within a short time period, the project has shown that additional and affordable mental health support and resources can be established, even in the most remote areas of Scotland.

By documenting the project, it is hoped that similar actions may be able to be rolled out in other locations and that the evidence gathered will be able to be used to guide future mental wellbeing initiatives and rural policy. This project has shown the potential of building more caring, connected communities.

We hope you enjoy the video, and if you'd like to find out more, please visit the project's page here: www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk/highlands-and-islands-connections