McArthur voices support for action on rural mental health

11 May 2023

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has thanked organisations active in helping provide support to those in rural and island areas struggling with their mental health.

It came as Mr McArthur, in his role as Deputy Presiding Officer, chaired a debate in parliament today focused on the specific issues around rural mental health.

During the debate, MSPs representing rural and island communities spoke of the particular pressures on the mental health of people in these areas, notably those involved in farming and crofting.

Commenting after the debate, Mr McArthur said:

“It has long been recognised that there are specific issues in rural and island areas in relation to mental health, where a lack of anonymity, increased levels of stigma and greater challenges accessing services can all be a factor. Those working in farming and crofting can often be at particular risk in a sector that has become ever-more isolated and which has faced real problems as a result of the costs of living crisis.

“Today’s debate, however, underlined the important message that help is available through the excellent work of organisations like NFUS, RSABI and the Mental Health Foundation. I was also pleased to attend a recent event at Orkney Rugby Club, hosted by FarmStrong, where we heard from the charity’s founder, New Zealander Mark Gascoigne who stressed the importance of everyone taking care to look after their mental health.

“We need to recognise the link between mental and physical health and the need for parity between both. That has long been an aspiration but there is much more to do if we are to properly achieve it.”