Mental wellbeing remains a high priority
Looking after the mental health of rural and farming communities remains a high priority. Evidence shows that suicide rates are higher in rural areas compared to urban areas and those in rural-based occupations, such as those in agriculture, face an increased risk of suicide.
A recent survey revealed that just 43% of men in rural areas would reach out for support or talk to someone if they are struggling with their mental health, compared to 51% of urban men.
Farming culture and long-standing stereotypes that men ‘don’t talk about their feelings’ are key barriers to people seeking support. There are also physical and occupational barriers to help-seeking such as long hours, lone working and geographical isolation, or less accessible rural services.
It’s important to remember know that help is available. Organisations such as the Samaritans and the Farming Community Network offer free and confidential advice. In addition, many private healthcare policies include access to specialist mental health services. For business members, Employee Assistance Programmes are a cost-effective but valuable employee benefit.
The continued NHS crisis
The NHS remains under increasing pressure with latest reports revealing that the number of people in England waiting for routine hospital treatments has jumped to a record 6.8 million.
This poses a particular challenge for rural communities where primary care services are often limited and harder to access. Statistics reveal that 94% of people in urban areas of England live within a 20-minute walk of a GP premises, compared to 19% in rural areas
As a result, an estimated one in 10 (10%) adults in the UK have turned to Private Medical Insurance in the last 12 months and this is a trend we expect to continue.
PMI is designed to complement the NHS rather than replace it but with the outlook for the NHS remaining bleak, many people will want the reassurance that they have cover in place to access advice and treatment when they need it
Supporting men’s health
Men in the UK typically die 3.5 years younger than women, for largely preventable reasons. One in five men die before they reach the age of 65 in the UK and up to 75% of all premature deaths due to heart disease are male.
Increased awareness around men’s mental health and male cancers, such as testicular and prostate cancer, is helping to change the landscape and encourage more men to seek help when problems arise.
Private healthcare policies are adapting to reflect gender-specific health needs too. Some cover can also include health screenings so that issues can be identified early.
If you want to discuss the health and wellbeing needs for yourself and your family or employee benefits for your business, then get in touch with the dedicated CLA Healthcare team today.
 NHS England