Can you help fund me to raise awareness of rural mental health?
I am a researcher that has been working in the UK in the area of rural health for around 10 years. I care passionately about rural communities, their sustainability and their residents' health and well-being.
Some statistics suggest that well-being may be better in rural areas of the UK. However, rural areas have, for a long time, had substantially higher rates of suicide. In rural areas, access to support services for people with mental ill-health may also be particularly difficult.
Along with colleagues from other rural areas, across the globe, I think it's time that we had a more in-depth understanding of what affects mental health in rural areas and ensure that rural people have adequate access to support services.
One of the first steps to achieveing this, is to bring together researchers from different rural areas that are carrying out work on mental health. We need to do this to raise the profile of rural mental health and plan for international rural health research programmes.
I would like to kick-start this activity, by presenting some of my work from rural Scotland at the National Rural Mental Health Association Conference in the USA in September 2017. Along with colleagues from the USA, I will present work on how rurality may interact with mental health and lay the foundations for future work in this area. I will also spend an intensive period working with international colleagues (for one week) on identifying the key future research areas for rural mental health.