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MPs quiz rural representatives for mental health inquiry

21 April 2022

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee is continuing its inquiry into rural mental health issues with a public question and answer session that sees the Committee invite panels of representatives from rural communities, young people, farmers and veterinarians. 

Purpose of the session

The Committee started its inquiry into rural mental health because mental health services are often concentrated in areas of high population density – towns and cities – while access to services in remote or rural areas is often limited. At the same time, farming and other agricultural-related professions are known to face particular mental health challenges, with higher-than-average rates of depression and suicide.

The session on 26 April will see MPs question four panels with expertise and lived experience.


Tuesday 26 April 2022

Panel 1 - Rural Communities

From 2.30 pm:

  • Melanie Costas, Founder and Chief Executive, Rural Mental Health Matters
  • Barbara Piranty, CEO of Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, on behalf of Action with Communities in Rural England

Panel 2 - Young People in Rural Communities

From about 3.00pm:

  • Dan Mobbs, Chief Executive of the Mancroft Advice Project, which provides mental health support for young people in the Norfolk area
  • Karen Black, CEO of Off the Record, which provides mental health support for young people in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and the North Somerset area

Panel 3 - Farmers

From about 3.30pm:

  • Dr Jude McCann, CEO, Farming Community Network
  • Alicia Chivers, Chief Executive, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

Panel 4 - Veterinarians

From about 4.00pm: 

  • James Russell, Senior Vice President, British Veterinary Association
  • Dr Rosie Allister, manager of the Vetlife Helpline

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Gabriel Sainhas