National Rural Mental Health Survey Scotland: Report of Key Findings

S Skerratt*, JE Meador, M Spencer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy Brief/Technical BriefCommissioned report

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This report has come about through shared need. Both of our organisations – Support in Mind Scotland and the Rural Policy Centre of Scotland’s Rural College – recognised a significant gap in our knowledge: a systematic understanding of how people with mental ill health experience their day to day lives across rural Scotland. We each had anecdotal evidence, accumulated over years of
engaging with service users and from knowledge of specific needs for example within the farming community, but we did not have a clear picture across the country. In addressing this knowledge gap, a fundamental driver for us was that this picture had to be created by those who have firsthand experience of mental ill health, from the islands in the north and west, to the mainland areas in
the south and east, from more accessible rural communities through to the very remotest parts.

Addressing this complex and sensitive subject required partnership working, and we have been delighted not only to bring our two organisations together to produce this new evidence-base, but also - through the process – to create a new partnership: the National Rural Mental Health Forum which came into being in November 2016. In March 2017 the Forum received pump-priming funding
from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, with the aim of bringing together rural and mental health organisations at a national level, to raise awareness of mental ill health in rural Scotland, and identify means to address social isolation and related issues. The Government’s new Mental Health Strategy, published in March 2017, recognises rural issues and their links with
mental ill health, and has identified the National Rural Mental Health Forum as being the key mechanism and channel for moving forward in this critically important area.

Our ambition is that the evidence in this report continues to have impact on policy and practice across Scotland at national level and in many rural areas, through people and organisations using the findings to inform how they provide support and engage with those experiencing mental ill health in their communities. We are absolutely indebted to the hundreds of individuals who chose to tell us their thoughts and feelings, expressing their views as to what needs to change in mental health services and highlighting key policy issues. Our role has simply been to provide a channel for these respondents’ voices, to make the invisible visible.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodySupport in Mind Scotland
Number of pages69
Publication statusPrint publication - Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

This report should be cited as: Skerratt, S., Meador, JE., & Spencer, M. (2017). National Rural Mental Health Survey Scotland: Report of Key Findings.


  • rural
  • mental health
  • health
  • wellbeing


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