New Mental Health report highlights need for safe places in Scotland’s rural communities

New Mental Health report highlights need for safe places in Scotland’s rural communities

Ros Halley Jim Hume
James Rose

A new report released by national mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland and the National Rural Mental Health Forum has highlighted the importance of safe places for people to engage and feel part of the community.

The report entitled “Well Connected Communities" is the result of research undertaken in Dumfries and Galloway, West Lothian, Ayrshire, Argyll & Bute and the Western Isles, to look at a community approach to mental health and wellbeing.

To view or download a copy of the report click HERE

The research has highlighted the importance of people suffering poor mental health to have safe places to take part in their local communities and live meaningful lives. Respondents also highlighted the difficulties that they face with isolation, particularly when transport options were scarce.

Individuals were quick to come up with innovative ideas to create better well connected communities, with better co-ordination between stakeholders, more attention on mental health and wellbeing being needed, and a joined-up approach by private, public and third sectors to create a culture where communities work together.

The results of this work strengthens the view that to improve mental health support we need to establish community development approaches in genuine partnerships with local people, who know what is best for them and what can work in their area.

Frances Simpson, Chief Executive of Support in Mind Scotland, said: “Support in Mind Scotland knows how important it is to provide safe accessible places in local communities to welcome people who are isolated and help them to develop social networks and provide peer support.   Well Connected Communities provides the evidence we need to work more closely with people in remote and rural towns and villages to challenge stigma, promote good mental health and help develop new local initiatives.”

Ros Halley, Support in Mind Scotland’s Community Development Manager, said: “The Well Connected Communities project has clearly indicated that stronger social connections need to be recognised, supported and encouraged across Scotland. Throughout this short study, survey respondents and workshop participants told us about the importance of human contact, togetherness and care.

 “It is clear that good mental health is created first and foremost in our towns and villages and that everyone has a contribution to make. Hopefully this report is a stepping stone towards more connected and healthier communities.”

Jim Hume, Convener of the National Rural Mental Health Forum said: “This is vital research and will go a long way to help communities across Scotland be more resilient when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. The National Rural Mental Health Forum and its members are in a prime position to move the agenda forward for those suffering mental ill-health.

“It is a human right for all to be connected to their communities, this research highlights that to promote good wellbeing, we need places in communities for all to have health successful lives and for it to be everyone’s business to promote healthy wellbeing”.