News and opinion Our News Scottish Government pledges £50,000 to Rural Forum THE Scottish Government has announced a further £50,000 of funding for the National Rural Mental Health Forum, which brings together more than 100 member organisations from the public, private and third sectors. The continuation of funding for the Rural Forum for 2019-20, the same level as last year, was announced by the Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, during a visit to The Royal Highland Show. She said: “'The future prosperity of the rural economy is intertwined with the wellbeing of its biggest and best asset - the people of rural Scotland.“Helping rural communities and businesses thrive is a priority for this Government, which is why I am delighted that we are providing a further £50,000 of support to the National Mental Health Forum. “This will make a real difference to the wellbeing of the people of rural Scotland and help ensure that regardless of where we live, we can all reach our full potential.” The Forum’s outreach through its burgeoning membership is estimated at around 500,000 - around half the population of rural Scotland. It raises awareness through its membership organisations, attending and presenting at conferences, reducing stigma, furthering research, informing policy and promoting training in mental health. Jim Hume, Convener of the Rural Forum - which is run by Support in Mind Scotland - said: “I am delighted at the support from the Scottish Government for the National Rural Mental Health Forum. “In its two years since starting, the National Rural Mental Health Forum has grown in membership, with over 100 organisations from the public, private and third sectors joining in the vital agenda to improve mental health and wellbeing in rural Scotland. “This support will ensure that the Forum can continue to address mental health stigma, raise awareness, further research, inform policy and encourage mental health training across Scotland. “The Forum is dedicated to ensure that people living in rural Scotland lead mentally healthy lives and with this armada of organisations focused on doing so, then the impact is bound to lead to improved well-being in the remote and rural parts of Scotland.” About the Forum • The National Rural Mental Health Forum has been supported by the Scottish Government – 50% from their Rural budget and 50% from their Mental Health Budget• The Forum has around 110 organisations as members from the third, private and public sectors – see www.ruralwellbeing.org/partners• The Forum is run by Support in Mind Scotland, who have nearly 50 years’ experience in mental health, employ around 110 individuals, has 21 services from Golspie to Stranraer, support up to 1,500 people every week who have poor mental health (80% of whom are in rural Scotland).• Support in Mind Scotland have been awarded a GSK IMPACT 2019 Award (the only Scottish Charity to have done so, and last week won the Scottish Charity Awards Champion Award due to an individual fundraising after inspiration from her own experience.• Support for further development if the Forum is Action 12 of the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy (2017 to 2027)• The Forum is mentioned in Action 5 of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan.• The Forum is also mentioned in the Government’s Social Isolation and Loneliness Plan, their National Council for Rural Advisers’ recommendations and highlighted at the OECD Rural Conference as a “shining example of a collaborative approach”.