Highlands and Islands Ecosystem for Rural Mental Health and Active Healthy Ageing

18 June 2019

Event Report

The Highlands & Islands, in Scotland, held their 3rd Ecosystem event on 13 May in Inverness which focused on Mental Health Stigma and Discrimination which is an important area of interest to many of our Ecosystems and members.

The meeting published a vision for the future of mental health:  

People can visit their local wellbeing hub in the community they live to talk to others (peers and experts) if they are in need of some ‘mental health first aid’. Anybody going through a tough time is supported as early as possible by creating a way to connect before a clinical crisis occurs.

This connection can also take place in an ‘outdoor’ wellbeing hub that encourages physical activity with a purpose and in a social context.

Skilled peers in the community are available at the hub and ensure the ‘community gears are oiled’.

Everybody will be able to access support digitally too, if they prefer – or even just communicate in convenient ways e.g. text message. All digital services will link to a person and face to face support.

Both mindfulness and decider skills will be taught to all citizens, starting in schools, to integrate a proactive approach to mental health. People will be equipped with the tools to manage their mental health – similar to how they manage their physical health.

Our vision of the future is not reality yet, but our 3rd Ecosystem event on 13 May brought together many interesting perspectives from a variety of individuals and organisations – and provided some real insight into how we may one day overcome the challenges to mental health service provision in our remote and rural region.

We would like to thank our speakers from the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, Scotland’s Rural College, Scottish Crofting Federation, See Me Scotland and the Moray Wellbeing Hub for their fascinating insights.

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