National Rural Mental Health Forum tackle gender-based violence

Person demonstrating with slogan silence allows violence pic Anete Lusina
Alan Robertson

The National Rural Mental Health Forum, run by the mental health charity Change Mental Health, continues its online seminars tackling some of the pressing issues in rural communities.

On the 28th of February at 11am, the Forum shall hear from Robert Gordon University on the prevalence of gender-based violence in remote, rural and island communities. There shall be opportunities to engage with this research and consider actions needed.

Professor Sara Pedersen of Robert Gordon University (RGU) states “Despite the fact that one-fifth of the Scottish population lives in remote, rural and island communities, there has been limited research into the impact of Gender-Based Violence in these areas. The challenges already faced by victim-survivors were further heightened by COVID-19 and lockdowns. Stress factors such as having to work from home, concerns about health and money, and having to homeschool children, all meant that tensions were heightened during the pandemic. At the same time, lockdown conditions were used by abusers to intensify or conceal their violence.

Researchers from RGU will discuss the findings of a study investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on partnerships between the police and Gender-Based Violence service providers in rural, remote and island communities in Scotland at the National Rural Mental Health Forum online seminar on 28 February. The project outputs include a short film, which will be shown during the event.”

The Forum shall also hear from the charity Perennial, which supports those in the horticultural industry.

Emily Currie, Programme Manager, Health Prevention at Perennial highlights that “Perennial is the UK’s only occupational charity dedicated to helping everyone who works in horticulture, and their families. By horticulture we mean anyone working with plants, trees, grass or flowers. Perennial’s Services Team is aiming to inform, educate and influence horticulture workers to be proactive about their health and wellbeing, financial wellbeing, and their careers and skills.

These areas have been prioritised based on a 2021 industry-wide Survey. This Survey showed mental health in the industry to be an issue where 85% of people scored below average or poor for their mental wellbeing. The team are looking at evidence-based early intervention solutions to address this issue. They are aiming to build the health literacy of workers, so they take preventative actions to protect their mental wellbeing and seek help early.

The Team will discuss their two-year Mental Health First Aid pilot project and the impact it is having, as well as the free and confidential advice, information and support offered by Perennial to horticultural community.”

If you wish to join this free online seminar, then please register at the link: