Rural mental health tackled

Viv Hamilton'Community Development Worker (Argyll & Bute)'Support in Mind Scotland
Viv Hamilton'Community Development Worker (Argyll & Bute)'Support in Mind Scotland

Bute is to benefit from a new project by the mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland and the National Rural Mental Health Forum.

The scheme will explore the potential for a community development approach to enhance harder to reach people’s mental wellbeing in fragile rural communities.

The starting-point was a survey report by Scotland’s Rural College and Support in Mind Scotland which gave insights into living with mental ill health in rural Scotland, and what communities can do to help. Four community workers will now work in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Western Isles, West Lothian and Argyll and Bute.

What is learned from this project will feed into the Scottish Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027.

The local community development worker for Argyll & Bute is Viv Hamilton. She said: “I am really looking forward to ensuring that our voice in Argyll &Bute is heard on this important topic. This project aims to get to the heart of what makes a difference for people with mental health challenges within communities.

“What does/could responsive low-level, non-clinical support look like in your area? Are there untapped assets within your community and how can we ensure they are linked into existing resources? Are we exploiting all possible routes of community development in your area to benefit the community’s health and wellbeing?

“I have already been contacted by eager contributors and look forward in particular to working with people with lived experience of mental health challenges. Given the size of Argyll & Bute it is likely that the focus will be on two or three localities as the starting point but all contributions will inform the next stage.”

National Rural Mental Health Forum convener, Jim Hume said:“In rural Scotland we know that accessing services to tackle mental health can be a real issue. The project will help us to understand what makes communities supportive and help us to build pre-crisis connections which we know enhance quality of life and wellbeing.

“The National Rural Mental Health Forum will work with the new community development team to provide answers to rural loneliness, isolation and social exclusion and I look forward to working with them to make a real difference to the way we treat mental health in rural Scotland.”