Report highlights concern about rural mental health care
A report published by the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee calls for greater joined-up planning and action from the government to address the issue of poor mental health care across rural communities in England.
MPs have expressed concern about how isolation, poor public transport and a relative lack of digital connectivity are contributing to poor mental health outcomes for all categories of people across rural communities in England, but especially among farm workers and vets.
The House of Commons Committee report says relative poverty in rural areas can exacerbate poor mental wellbeing and that rural workers, including farmers, face particular stresses. These include unpredictable weather and animal health crises, as well as changing and uncertain government policies, which can affect incomes as well as people’s mental health.
Jane Colthup, Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire, said: “As the Rural Community Council for North, South and West Yorkshire, we know that rural communities face a unique set of challenges, such as limited access to mental health services and poor public transport, which can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing.
“Part of what we do is to work with Health Care Partnerships and voluntary sector and community organisations to improve public health and reduce health inequalities. We welcome the recommendations for a more joined-up approach and greater access to mental health services for rural communities.”