Scotland's National Rural Mental Health Forum - convened by Support in Mind Scotland - welcomed a record turnout of organisations to its latest meeting this month (February), underlining how much it has gone from strength to strength in membership and impact since its creation in 2017.

In the short time that the Forum has been existence, it has grown in membership from 16 organisations to 150 membership organisations from third, private and public sectors. That membership has outreach to over half of Scotland’s rural population and continues to grow. That is evidence of demand that everyone wants to make it their business to tackle mental health and well-being.

The focus of the February meeting at Ingliston was on developing material to inform how to support someone with poor mental health or who may be feeling suicidal.  Useful videos from NHS Health Scotland were also presented with feedback from Forum members on how they would fit with their communities.

The Forum was established three years ago after first time research on living with poor mental health in rural Scotland was undertaken by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and SiMS.

The evidence was clear: everyone wanted to be able to tackle mental health and wellbeing, and people wanted to be supported within their communities, organisations and businesses before getting in to crisis.

Work going forward with the Forum is concentrating on promoting appropriate mental health training in communities and workplaces across rural Scotland.

The Forum is also co-ordinating a campaign to ensure that rural communities are better able to improve mental health and well-being in a time of uncertainty. This campaign shall have a presence at the Forum’s stand at this year’s Royal Highland Show from the 18-21 June. Please do visit us at our stand just south of the main ring.

If you are not yet involved in tackling mental health and wellbeing in your rural community or organisation, then do contact the National Rural Mental Health Forum to see how you can make it your business too.

You can see current membership of the National Rural Mental Health Forum at www.ruralwellbeing.org/partners