MPs launch inquiry into hidden rural mental health issues
Politics.co.uk reports how MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee are set to embark on a wide-ranging inquiry into rural mental health
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.
“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.”
The Committee is interested in gathering evidence on the following topics:
- What specific mental health challenges are faced by those living and working in rural communities?
- What is the current state of mental health & suicide prevention service provision for those working in agriculture and those living in rural areas more generally? Do they meet the specific needs of that community?
- What are the causes of the higher than average rate of suicide amongst those working in agriculture? Are there other linked professions, such as vets, that have similar issues? How effective are suicide prevention services offered to these groups?
- Is sufficient mental health support made available to rural communities following “shocks” such as flooding or mass animal culls?
- Does the Government’s recent investment in mental health services adequately provide for agricultural mental health?
- How joined up are key actors, such as Defra, DHSC, NHS England, Public Health England and Local Government in their approach to improving quality of, and access to, mental health service in rural and agricultural communities?
The deadline for responses is Friday 7th January 2022.
- Further information about the inquiry can be found here
Politic.co.uk - MPs launch inquiry into ‘sometimes hidden’ issue of rural mental health