Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today called on the Scottish Government to address mental ill health in rural communities.
Published today, research complied together by Support in Mind Scotland and Scotland’s Rural College follows 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 right across Scotland.
Those experiencing mental health issues said 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.
Commenting on the new research, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Almost all of us in Orkney will know someone who has been or is affected by poor mental health. Studies, including this survey form the National Rural Mental Health Forum, are now exposing the specific problems facing those in rural and island areas.
“We know that the stigma associated with mental illness can be greater in rural communities, and particularly in traditional industries such as farming. The risks of isolation and stress are greater than ever, with fewer people working in farming and considerable financial and other pressures. The Forum is right, therefore, to highlight the importance of people being connected locally and able to talk about these issues openly and candidly.
“Now that the Scottish Government has finally published its long awaited Mental Health Strategy, we must also make up lost ground. This should include treating mental ill health with the same level of priority as the physical ill health and address the unique challenges in rural areas.”