A new project in the Western Isles is exploring the potential for a community development
approach to enhance harder-to-reach people’s mental wellbeing in fragile rural communities.
Mental health charity Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) and the National Rural Mental
Health Forum is working with the hard-to-reach including workless and lone parent
households, homeless people, and those experiencing other forms of disadvantage or
Donnie Steele from South Uist has been recruited as a community workers for the Western
Isles. The scheme is also launching in Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, West Lothian
as well as Argyll and Bute.
Project explores mental health support in island areas
23 December 2017
The work aims to create an in-depth understanding of a supportive community.
This will form the basis of a second bid to test approaches identified by communities.
Feedback will inform a mental health strategy plus action plans around loneliness,
isolation and suicide.
National Rural Mental Health Forum convener, Jim Hume said: “In rural Scotland we
know that accessing services to tackle mental health can be a real issue.
“The project will help us to understand what makes communities supportive and help
us to build pre-crisis connections which we know enhance quality of life and wellbeing.
Donnie Steele - a former islands’ councillor - said: “The group hope to provide answers
to rural loneliness, isolation and social exclusion and I look forward to working
with SiMS and partners to make a real difference to the way we treat mental health
in rural Scotland and in particular the Outer Hebrides.
“The centralisation of services needs to be addressed, as the removal of services
is having a detrimental and devastating effect on individuals and communities across