Scotland’s National Rural Mental Health Forum is celebrating a significant milestone after welcoming its 100th member organisation.


The pioneering forum, convened by mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland, was established in 2017 to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing in rural communities and tackle isolation and stigma.


The Rural Forum, which has prominent support in the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy for 2017-2027, has attracted members from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and it has now reached a landmark century of organisations by welcoming Kirknewton-based Coxydene Farm Feeds to its burgeoning ranks.


It is fitting that Coxydene is the 100th member, as a group from the company and friends, are taking part next week in a two-day 100km sponsored walk during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) to raise funds for the Forum. The group, which has already raised £3,300, will be led by Vhairi Winton, who as a young girl lost her mother to suicide.


Vhairi, 27, said: "As a young girl I watched my mum struggle with poor mental health for many years. Tragically she ended up taking her own life when I was 10. It's because of my experience that I really wanted to raise awareness of how serious poor mental health is.


“In an attempt to raise both money and awareness, I came up with the idea of doing a 100km walk and decided to support the National Rural Mental Health Forum. The forum does an incredible job of reaching out to those who are struggling with mental health problems in rural Scotland.

BLOG: Support in Mind Scotland CEO Frances Simpson hails 100th Rural Forum member as a landmark to celebrate. Read it HERE.


“Myself and the 10 others who are joining me (David Blain, Megan Russell, Paul Martin, Tammie Nicolson, Stevie Galvin, Pauline Robinson, Kevin Bannon, Genevieve Livingston, Ralph Speed and Big Keith) on this 100km walk currently work and live in rural Scotland so it's a charity we are all passionate about."

The group, who have been busy training for the walk, will set off on Thursday 16 May from Kingsbarns and walk to Wemyss for an overnight stay. The walk will resume the following morning, heading to to the Forth Road Bridge before finishing in Kirknewton.

Vhairi added: “Since I came up with the idea of walking 100km, the support from far and wide has been overwhelming and watching rural communities come together for a great cause is incredible. Becoming the 100th member of the Forum is very exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in and see what opportunities the future brings."


Jim Hume, convener of the National Rural Mental Health Forum, said: “The Forum started just over two years ago, with around 16 organisations agreeing to co-operate to tackle mental health and wellbeing in rural Scotland. I am delighted that Coxydene Farm Feed has become our 100th membership organisation.

“The power of the Forum is in its membership, which includes Government departments, NHS bodies, mental health organisations, research institutes, rural membership organisations and businesses.”

To see the full list of Forum members to date, click here: https://www.ruralwellbeing.org/partners