Janet Dean MP addresses mental health needs at Mind's Rural Conference
Posted Wednesday 5 September 2007
Sustaining mental health in rural communities
6-7 September, Uttoxeter Racecourse
Today Janet Dean MP will be addressing delegates at Mind's Rural Conference, hosted by Uttoxeter Mind. The conference is the only one of its kind in England and Wales to focus on the specific needs of mental health service provision in rural communities. The MP for Burton has had a long standing relationship with Mind locally and will speak to professionals, researchers and people with mental health problems on how mental health services can be sustained in rural communities in the long-term.
Although most people perceive country life as a healthier, stress-free alternative to life in the city, problems of greater isolation and poverty in remote areas mean that some groups in rural communities are at high risk of developing mental distress. Despite this, the concentration of public services in urban areas means that people living in the country often struggle to access health care. Delegates and speakers will consider how voluntary organisations can work with the public sector to tackle the problems of stigma, social isolation and reaching dispersed populations to provide accessible, long-term mental health support to rural areas.
Uttoxeter Mind has worked for nearly ten years to face the challenges of providing outreach services to the communities it supports. Jo Malkin, Manager of Uttoxeter Mind, is delighted to be hosting the conference. She said:
"Delivering sustainable services is a recurrent problem for organisations working in rural areas. We are often only able to secure short term funding, meaning that there is little continuity in the types of service we can offer. As Uttoxeter Mind is the only community mental health facility in the area, when the money runs out, the needs of the community go unmet. We're delighted to be hosting the Rural Conference in the centre of our community, it's a step in the right direction to ensure that people in rural areas receive the mental health care they deserve."
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
"The centralisation of health services means that people in rural areas may need to travel long distances to access health care, and when budgets are cut, outreach services in dispersed communities are often first in line for closure. The conference will look at ways in which we can address these problems so that people in rural communities can access the same quality/level of mental health care as people who live in cities."