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Working together for Rural Mental Health

National Rural Mental Health Forum members celebrate International Women’s Day at a recent meeting of the Forum.

National Rural Mental Health Forum members celebrate International Women’s Day at a recent meeting of the Forum.

Forum members working on actions to tackle mental health and wellbeing in Scotland

Forum members working on actions to tackle mental health and wellbeing in Scotland

SRUC MH visit.jpg

photo, left to right; Gemma Jones, former SRUCSA President, now Support in Mind Scotland, Prof. Sarah Skerratt SRUC, Prof. Wayne Powell SRUC Principal, Clare Haughey MSP Minister for Mental Health, Jim Hume Convener National Rural Mental Health Forum, Lizzie Lundy SRUC, David Collins SRUC

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey discussed rural mental health on a visit to SRUC in January 2019

We were thrilled to share our partnership work to improve rural mental health with the Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey MSP, during a visit to King’s Building last month.

SRUC staff and partners came together to highlight how we work together to enhance wellbeing, support students and staff, and carry out research on mental health that’s already having an impact.

Working together 

SRUC is a founder member of the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

Funded by the Scottish Government, it’s grown from 17 to 70+ members in just over two years. This is incredible and shows just how much this forum is needed.

The National Rural Mental Health Forum Convener, Jim Hume, showed how the Forum uniquely brings together rural networks and services – including farm support, forestry, vets – alongside mental health charities, churches and befrienders, plus Scottish Government departments and agencies.

Expertise is shared on how to reduce stigma around “It’s OK not to be OK” - particularly tough in small rural communities - and how to improve support.

You can support the National Rural Mental Health Forum by following them on social media and sharing their campaigns.

Supporting students and staff:

SRUCSA has been leading the way through “Shady the Dog”, our mental health mascot who has been reducing stigma, raising awareness and promoting support for students no matter where they are across our campus network.

Former SRUCSA President Gemma Jones and now community worker for Support in Mind Scotland in the Western Isles inspired us all with her own journey and support for many hundreds of students.

David Collins and Lizzie Lundy from SRUC HR also brought to life their really important work ensuring staff have spaces to talk and be listened to, Mental Health First Aid Training, and integrating mental wellbeing into wider health and nutrition through “Destination Wellbeing”.

Research with impact:

“I showed the Minister our work with Support in Mind Scotland that generated first-time, “lived-experience” data from people living with mental ill health across rural Scotland,” stated Professor Sarah Skerratt of SRUC

“We published this in 2017, and already it’s helped shape the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027, plus laid the foundation for new pieces of rural research on what people really need, particularly the harder-to-reach.”

So what did the Minister think of her visit?

Clare Haughey MSP took to Twitter that evening:

Thanks for inviting me along . It was a pleasure to hear about all the work @SRUC & @shadythedogsrucare doing to challenge stigma, promote mental health and well-being & to provide support when it’s needed https://t.co/Lnb2YSj26a

— Clare Haughey MSP (@haughey_clare) 24 January 2019

Thanks @Rural_Wellbeing for all you’re doing across Scotland to challenge stigma, raise awareness of Mental Health and well-being & much more in rural communities https://t.co/20eAVT5wtP

— Clare Haughey MSP (@haughey_clare) 24 January 2019

What can we do?

Almost a million people live in rural Scotland. Through our consultancy services, research networks, provision to students, and the fact that many staff live across Scotland’s islands, highlands, remote lowlands and other “nooks and crannies”, we have incredible rural reach.

Thanks to our networks across Scotland, SRUC has not just an opportunity but also a duty to promote mental health and wellbeing both internally, and to all our partners and stakeholders. If you would like to get involved, please do drop me a line - thanks.

Professor Sarah Skerratt, Director of Policy Engagement and Rural Policy Centre. sarah.skerratt@sruc.ac.ukForum

Scotland's rural communities put mental health top of the agenda

Jim Hume, convenor of the National Rural Mental Health Forum, writes for The Scotsman, about impassioned speeches given to the recent NFUS autumn conference

 

Attendance Allowance Government Survey

This is a crucial consultation on Attendance Allowance and the Scottish Government are particularly interested in hearing from those in rural areas. Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you. By completing the survey, the information you provide will help the Scottish Government make decisions about how to make Attendance Allowance work better in Scotland.

National Rural Mental Health Forum Parliamentary Reception, 2 October 18

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey hailed Scotland’s National Rural Mental Health Forum as “a platform for change” at a successful Parliamentary Reception. The Holyrood reception on 2 October was hosted by Gail Ross MSP and aimed to raise awareness of mental health issues in rural Scotland as well as giving Forum members a chance to meet and make connections.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey MSP thanks National Rural Mental Health Forum for its work

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey MSP thanks National Rural Mental Health Forum for its work