A Parliamentary Select Committee report into Rural Mental Health just published (May 2023) says that isolation, poor public transport, and a relative lack of digital connectivity have contributed to poor mental health across rural England.
GRCC CEO Barbara Piranty was called to give evidence to the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee during their inquiry into Rural Mental Health. Barbara was representing not just GRCC but all the 38 county organisations across England that form the ACRE Network.
“Poor mental health affects so many people living in isolated rural areas, and is exacerbated by low incomes, access to services, and lack of transport," commented Barbara. "In our county, Gloucestershire, GRCC is working hard to provide local support through our social prescribing teams and our Independence Trust projects CALMHS and CASA.”
The Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Sir Robert Goodwill said:
“Rural communities face a unique set of challenges. High on the list are limited access to mental health services, poor public transport and unpredictable crises like animal diseases.
“All this has an inevitable toll on peoples’ mental health – and yet the mental health services people in rural areas can access are few and far between.
“Rural mental health needs to be a top priority for Defra – and the Department should take the lead on this report’s recommendations for much more joined-up action across government.”
The Select Committee's report makes 30 recommendations to the government regarding better mental health services in rural areas, action to prevent suicide among rural workers, and measures to improve rural communities as places to live.
You can read the Committee's statement about Rural Mental Health, and download the report summary or the full report, at this page on the UK Government website.