I read your Health article ‘Depression takes toll in rural areas’ (September 22) and noted that the key solutions referred to were the removal of the stigma around mental health, combined with medication.

For me though as a complementary medicine enthusiast and anti-poverty campaigner the article was disappointingly sparse on causation of the mental ill-health causation of rural living.

A demographic of who is most affected and how and why their residential history could also have been illuminating.


Perhaps many of the people most affected are poor and have been displaced from more cosmopolitan Herefordshire by way of what are known as “out of-borough placements” that have had an impact on social housing in London while landlords have adapted to funding shortages by selling properties in “desirable locations” to help balance their books, while rural properties may be cheaper to rent.

I believe it would be worthwhile for our policymakers, local and national, to know about this in connection with reported rise in rural mental ill-health. Similarly, age demographics are important in that over-60s get free bus travel – where and when bus routes operate, of course.

Long bus rides within the county can be very expensive for under-60s.

Whereas Hereford is a “city of sanctuary” perhaps for travel poor folk the large county and lorry-dominated B roads can make it seem very much like an archipelago?


And what about gender? While ability to drive is helpful in cardependent territory, prospective women drivers would probably be aided by greater availability of female driving instructors.

While new Prime Minister Liz Truss wants to ramp up the war budget, I’m sure that a great number of travel poor, nondriving women would feel a lot safer with greater pool of samegender driving instructors.

Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council promoted and funded shared car provision is a great start, I reckon.

I believe that our two male Conservative MPs should be better informed by mental health service users.




What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.