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Rural Connections: Building Mental Health Awareness in Rural Scotland

The last two years has seen an increasing interest in workplace wellbeing.
Women standing with mountain behind her - Rural Connections

In recent years, there has been a growing focus on workplace wellbeing, largely stemming from the pandemic and its effects on our work habits and mental wellbeing. As work plays a significant role in our daily lives, maintaining a mentally healthy workplace is beneficial for all.

Living and working rurally can also bring added challenges to ensuring good wellbeing. Issues of isolation, access to health services, and the stigma often attached to talking openly about mental health. To help address these issues, Change Mental Health and Mental Health UK have teamed up to deliver the ‘Rural Connections’ project. Neptune Energy has funded the project and aims to improve Scotland’s rural communities’ mental health and wellbeing. Fully funded online mental health awareness training is being delivered across Scotland to businesses, organisations and community groups.

“The course will allow me to support any of my team that are struggling and need help and support.”

Rural Connections Training participant

The project has provided nearly 30 employers from across Scotland with the opportunity to start the conversation about mental health within their staff teams. From Loch Ness to Mull and the Scottish Borders, the training raises awareness of employees’ own mental health and develops the skills and confidence to talk about wellbeing within the workplace.

Prioritising an employee’s wellbeing is economically worthwhile, with over 70 million working days lost in 2019/20 due to Stress, Anxiety and Depression (Mental Health Foundation). However, there is also a strong case for supporting the mental health of your employees as a caring and responsible employer by investing in the mental wellbeing of your staff team.

“The training was invaluable and gave me much more knowledge about mental health and banished the myths.”

Rural Connections Training participant

Employers may like to embed wellbeing within the workplace but may not have the time/resource or simply not know where to start. However, even taking on a few simple actions can be highly beneficial and focusing on what you ‘can do’ within your time, budget, and resources is worthwhile.

Taking the first step to promoting and supporting workplace wellbeing does not have to be time-consuming or involve a cost. Read our resource on good workplace wellbeing to find out more.

If you are a rural employer with less than 50 members of staff, then enquire about mental health training that can help develop everyone’s awareness about mental health, start conversations and challenge stigma.

For more information about Rural Connections, contact our Training team.

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