Tackling rural stress demon

11 July 1997

After the technicalities, the politics and the prizes come social issues, socialising and shopping. Ann Rogers and Tessa Gates took a Farmlife look around the show

Tackling rural stress demon

BETTER understanding and support facilities should be more accessible to rural people suffering emotional stress now that Mind has established the first National Resource Centre for Rural Mental Health.

RuralMinds, which is based in the Arthur Rank Centre at the NAC, Warks, will develop more effective mental health services and provide information and training for mental health workers in rural areas. A Dept of Health grant of £118,000 and a donation of £18,000 from the TSB/Lloyds Foundation will secure the project until the millennium.

Sue Elliott-Jones has been working on the pilot scheme for RuralMinds, studying the mental health needs of rural dwellers in Shropshire to find out what they do and dont need.

She was struck by the lack of support structures for people suffering stress and depression. "Short term crisis mental health problems are made worse by not having anyone to talk to," says Sue.

She found people didnt want pills but needed to confide in someone who had sympathy and empathy with them and could provide help in a generally sustaining way.

"One in four people will suffer mental health problems, it is a part of life," she says. "We will be working with schools and colleges to educate people to recognise the signs of stress before it becomes a crisis."

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