New survey on mental ill health in rural areas

Person on beach
Norette Ferns

Support in Mind Scotland and Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) are running a survey to find out what it's like to live with mental ill health in rural Scotland.

The survey aims to discover how living in a rural area affects daily life - including the use of public transport, accessing services and being part of small communities

Support in Mind Scotland and SRUC are also asking for people’s ideas for rural service delivery and what they want to tell Scotland’s policy-makers. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on how mental health services can be improved over the next ten years.

Frances Simpson, Chief Executive of Support in Mind Scotland, said:

"Much of our work takes place in rural areas, but what we don’t have is a picture of what it’s like living with mental ill health across the whole of rural Scotland. This survey will help us to shape our services as well as give better evidence to policy makers

"We want to know whether issues and concerns keep coming up, and what ideas people have for addressing the challenges they face. We’re aware that being in a rural area has benefits too – and we’re keen to find out what these are."

"In order to hear from as many people as possible, we’re hosting the survey on our Support in Mind Scotland website and we’ll be making sure that people who don’t have access to computers or the internet can fill it in on paper."

Professor Sarah Skerratt, Director of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre, and coordinator of the study for SRUC, said:

"We are really pleased to have this opportunity to work with Support in Mind Scotland, to enhance our understanding of mental ill health in rural areas.

"Through our meetings with other charities and bodies, we are aware of challenges facing the farming community. We also know – anecdotally – that mental health issues are present amongst the wider rural population. What we don’t yet have is systematic evidence across rural Scotland; this survey will help to paint a more accurate picture.

"We will publish the findings of the survey in the winter of 2016/17. We will work with Support in Mind Scotland to organise round table discussions to bring the results to the attention of stakeholders and decision-makers at national level, as part of the charity’s ongoing work to raise awareness of mental ill health in rural Scotland."

Two workshops held in June, with providers and users of mental health services, gave some important insights. It is hoped the survey will add more depth through people describing their day-to-day experiences of living in rural Scotland with mental ill health.

The survey is live until midnight on Wednesday 21 September. It is open to those in rural areas who suffer from mental ill health, and/or carers for those who are suffering from mental health issues.

Take part in the survey