MPs launch inquiry into ‘sometimes hidden’ issue of rural mental health

MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee are set to embark on a wide-ranging inquiry into rural mental health, it has been announced today.

Farming and other agriculture-related professions are known to face particular mental health challenges, with higher-than-average rates of depression and suicide. Improving the overall quality of mental health provision has been an increasing priority for the Government and the NHS in recent years.

The Chair of the EFRA Committee, Neil Parish MP, said:

“I’m pleased we’re starting this vital work.It’s important we talk openly about these issues and the help that is available. Mental health matters to us all. But for some people working in rural communities there are special factors that are often hidden in a world that sometimes feels like it is driven by those living in towns and cities.

“I’m a farmer myself and I know how people in our communities can sometimes suffer from isolation. That’s not to mention how insecure incomes, volatile weather and many other issues can be real stress factors.

“We hope to look into all of these subjects and more – then make recommendations about how the government can improve mental health provision in rural communities.

“I encourage everyone with a take on this subject – whether professional or personal – to take part in our inquiry. The ways to let us know your views are set out below.”