A Rural Policy meeting was held on the 31st of January 2023 in the Scottish Parliament and was coordinated by the Rural Policy Centre, SRUC and speakers and members of the Rural Cross-Party Group. Speakers included Ailsa Clark from Inspiralba who’s presentation highlighted the importance of ‘Shifting the Narrative: Stories of Rural Resilience in a Post-Covid Era’.
Some of the Key Takeaways:
- Rural communities globally have experienced wellbeing challenges because of the COVID 19 pandemic and ongoing cost of living crisis. However, as always, rural communities demonstrated their resilience by developing novel support mechanisms.
- Rural communities highly value socialisation , yet these tight knit social networks as well as stigmas around mental health make it difficult for individuals to seek anonymous support.
- Policies to support mental and physical health in rural areas must implement a joined up approach, be community led and include education on mental health and illness . They also require targeted support based on age and gender, social funding for service provision and support e.g., recruitment of rural GPs.
- Rural areas can benefit from global collaboration in research and policy development.
The Policy Spotlight (see below) summarises the presentations and discussions held during the Rural Cross Party Group meeting held in January 2023. It brings together experiences in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Sweden to look at positive solutions to rural health challenges.
Read full document here.