SCOTLAND'S OWN singing linties, the Farmers Choir, made their voices heard in the Scottish Parliament last week, helping efforts to raise awareness of mental well-being.

Hosted by Emma Harper, MSP for South of Scotland, the choir – with almost 100 members – gave some of their more powerful renditions, one of which 'Carry you home' has a particular relevance to mental health and well-being.

The event provided an opportunity for people from both Scotland’s rural and health care communities to come together, network and raise awareness of the problems experienced by many farming and rural families across Scotland.

Ms Harper invited health professionals as well as Teresa Dougall, from NFUS and fellow MSP, Finlay Carson, to talk about social isolation and how it impacts upon people right across Scotland.

Attendees heard about how a lack of human connection can lead to many issues of mental health and how social isolation can cause depression and, in extreme cases, lead to thoughts of suicide. Ms Harper said: “Social isolation and loneliness can affect anyone – at all ages and stages of life. As our society changes, there is increasing recognition of social isolation and loneliness as major public health issues that can have a significant impact on a person's physical and mental wellbeing.

“Such isolation is particularly prevalent in rural Scotland and can have profound implications on our agricultural community. The Farmers’ Choir is an absolutely fantastic initiative led by Kate Picken and brings together people for a common aim – to sing, socialise and raise awareness of this important cause. Singing has also been proven to be very beneficial for health and wellbeing."

Finlay Carson added: “There is so much good work going on across Scotland to address rural isolation, which has an impact on many up and down the country. I pay particular tribute to those members of the choir from my own constituency and wish the choir all the very best for the future – and hope to see them again soon.”