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.
The research findings from the rural mental health survey now give us the evidence to help us tackle mental ill health in rural Scotland"
Connecting people in their communities is something that the new National Rural Mental Health Forum is seeking to do. Jim Hume (pictured above), 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."
The full survey report is available from SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre by clicking HERE