The RURAL MENTAL HEALTH (RMH) project will aim to redress the imbalance and inequality between mental health care provision in rural areas compared to urban ones. Considering that those suffering from mental health disorders in rural areas are substantially more likely to commit suicide than their urban counterparts, it is crucial that awareness of mental health issues is raised across rural communities; increased and improved mental health care provision is made available; and stigmatisation around these issues is reduced. In this context, the project will develop informational, contextual and background information on mental health issues in rural areas and the need for basic care provision via a number of different community-led avenues. It will also develop training modules on basic care provision, in a bid to help rural educators, volunteers, employers and other actors to at least understand the incidence of mental health disorders better and be able to identify them, and reach out to those involved.
The target users of these materials will therefore be those involved in working with vulnerable teenagers, farming advisors and agricultural educators, employers, and job counsellors to name but a few. Other open educational resources developed by the project will include a checklist to identify concerns; a promotion video attempting to reduce stigmatisation; and an information pack aimed directly at end-users and vulnerable groups in rural areas to help them seek help for themselves or others.
The combination of these elements should help a two-pronged approach to a sensitive issue, by addressing the target group directly but also via trusted community leaders. Ultimately, this project aims to improve the quality of life for those suffering from mental health issues in rural areas, improve awareness and prevention of serious mental health issue occurrences, and, fundamentally, reduce the suicide rate in rural areas across Europe, particularly of disadvantaged youth and rural workers including farmers.