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Minister launches reports highlighting mental health issues in rural areas

1 March, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has launched two reports highlighting mental health in rural areas.

Commissioned by the Niamh Louise foundation, a charity which provides suicide awareness, prevention and intervention services, the reports look at rural mental health, the stigma associated with mental health issues and services which are available to support people in rural areas.

Minister O’Neill said: “These reports recognise that the stigma associated with mental health in rural areas is a real problem and that those suffering from mental health problems often do so in silence, compounding their feelings of isolation. However, they also make practical recommendations to addressing and overcoming this stigma and ensuring that the appropriate services and support is in place to help our rural communities.

“I am keen that my Department takes whatever action it can to highlight this issue and commend our Local Action Groups, SWARD and SOAR, for supporting this work. I intend to work closely with the Niamh Louise Foundation in the coming months to look at how we raise the profile of addressing mental health in rural communities and ensure that people do not have to suffer in silence anymore.”

Funding for the reports was provided by the EU Rural Development Programme through the South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) and Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR) Local Action Groups.

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