SCOTGOV pledged another £25,000 of support for Rural Wellbeing, the National Rural Mental Health Forum, at the Royal Highland Show.

The Forum, run by national mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland to bring together 30 rural and mental health organisations, and campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues facing rural communities, was launched with ScotGov support in April.

Announcing fresh investment at the RHS, Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt said: “I’m really pleased to be here to help launch this campaign and to announce a further £25,000 of support from the Scottish Government for the work of the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

“We know that people in rural communities can feel isolated, and the Forum can help them maintain good mental health and wellbeing by developing connections and accessing support where they need it. More specifically, this extra funding will allow the Forum to directly inform the Isolation Strategy and the action plan implementing our new ten-year mental health strategy. I know it will make a real difference to people in rural Scotland.”

Noting that approaching 200,000 people would visit the Show this year, Ms Watt noted that one in four people suffer from mental ill health in Scotland – meaning that nearly 50,000 of the Show’s visitors might suffer mental ill health at some point in their lives.

Forum convenor, Jim Hume, said: “Through this unique and powerful partnership, we are able to reach into all the nooks and crannies of rural Scotland, north and south, east and west. By matching the dedication of these 30 organisations with Scottish Government funding, we are today launching a national campaign to raise awareness and reduce stigma, creating opportunities for people in rural areas to connect, talk about their mental health and move towards wellbeing.

“We are confident that this on-going investment for a further six months will enable the Forum to deliver change on the ground plus generate further evidence to inform policies that fit rural Scotland.”