Launch of Ecosystem for rural mental health and active ageing

Norette Ferns

A new Highlands and Islands Ecosystem for rural mental health and active ageing was launched in Inverness recently.

The event, organised by the Scottish Rural Health Partnership, took place at An Lochran on 26 November 2018 and gathered together people and organisations with interested in improving rural mental health and wellbeing and active ageing in the region.

Andy Bleaden from the European Connected Health Alliance explained more about ecosystems and their benefits. An ecosystem's goal is to create permanent, mutually beneficial partnerships which improve the delivery of health and social care as well as providing economic benefits. They are led by multiple organisations and the main benefit of working together in an ecosystem is the multiplier effect. 

Ecocystems are geographical in nature and are accessible to all with patients and citizens at the centre. They lead with a need and have light governance via a working group.

Following this presentation we had the opportunity to hear from people working in organisations involved in rural mental health and wellbeing, from the NHS to academia to voluntary organisations. Topics covered were wide ranging from the impact of loneliness to the role of digital health to the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

We then took part in short workshop sessions to explore on how we would like to see the ecosystem move forward.

If you'd like to know more about the Ecosystem and get involved get in touch with the Scottish Rural Health Partnership by emailing