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People in rural Scotland:

  • experience depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings, self-harming behaviour and anxiety disorder - no matter what their age, gender or location
  • their isolation is made worse by remoteness, stigma and fear.

What needs to change:

  • people want to connect before their mental health crisis occurs - locally in "low-level", non-clinical settings
  • shorter waiting times and mobile outreach to all parts of Scotland are crucial to prevention.



The Forum is a strong network of rural people and stakeholders driving change to:

  1. enable rural people to be open about their mental health
  2. have a solid evidence base for what works to improve people's lives
  3. create a programme to influence policy-makers to channel resources in ways that bring positive change through a network of rural organisations across Scotland

Helping rural communities and businesses thrive is a priority for this Government and by enabling good mental health, we can all reach our full potential wherever we live.
I welcome the new National Rural Mental Health Forum, rural groups working together for a common cause is a strong move forward in the right direction. I’m pleased to be supporting this positive initiative to help co-ordinate a national focus on mental wellbeing
— Fergus Ewing, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Scottish Government
“The National Rural Mental Health forum has been established to help people in rural areas maintain good health and wellbeing. The forum will help to develop connections between communities across rural Scotland so that isolated people can receive support when and where they need it. Since 2016, membership of the forum has grown from 16 to 60. The forum has agreed to deliver three outcomes: a much-improved understanding of the unmet need for mental health support in rural Scotland; evidence of how to better overcome barriers to accessing and seeking support, therefore enhancing people’s mental wellbeing in rural Scotland; and better-informed rural and health policy due to specific evidence and support from forum members.”
- Clare Haughey, Minister for Mental Health, September 2018


  • ACTION 12: Support the further development of the National Rural Mental Health Forum to reflect the unique challenges presented by rural isolation.
  • "The challenge presented by isolation is keenly felt by many in our rural communities.
  • The National Rural Mental Health Forum has been established to help people in rural areas maintain good mental health and wellbeing.
  • This Forum will help develop connections  between communities across rural Scotland, so that isolated people can receive support when and where they need it."