What exactly is ‘Social Prescribing’?

Have you ever wondered exactly what social prescribing actually is? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone! It’s a relatively new concept that’s making waves in the UK’s healthcare system.

Think of social prescribing as a way for your doctor to prescribe more than just medicine or medical treatments. Instead, they can “prescribe” activities and services that help you stay healthy and happy. It’s all about looking at the bigger picture of your health – your social connections, mental well-being, and overall lifestyle.

How Does It Work?

Here’s how social prescribing typically works:

  1. Referral: Your GP or practice nurse might suggest social prescribing if they think it could help you. This could be for anything from managing a chronic condition to dealing with loneliness/social isolation or stress.
  2. Meeting the Link Worker: You’ll then meet a link worker – these folks are great at listening and understanding what you need. They’ll spend time getting to know you, your current lifestyle, your interests, and what might help you feel better.
  3. Finding the Right Activities: Based on your conversation, the link worker will connect you to local activities or services. This could be anything from exercise classes and art groups to gardening clubs or volunteering opportunities (like what we do here at Capable Communities!)

Why is Social Prescribing a Good Thing?

There are plenty of reasons why social prescribing is gaining popularity:

  • Improves Mental Health: Getting involved in community activities can lift your spirits and help you feel more connected. Whether it’s joining a dance class or a book club, staying social is great for your mental health.
  • Boosts Physical Health: Being active is crucial, especially as we get older. Social prescribing can help you find enjoyable ways to keep moving, which is good for your body and mind.
  • Builds Confidence: Trying new things and meeting new people can boost your confidence and self-esteem. It’s never too late to make new friends or pick up a new hobby!
  • Eases Pressure on the NHS: By addressing non-medical issues that affect health, social prescribing can reduce the number of GP visits and hospital admissions. This helps free up medical resources for those who really need them.

What is the Future of Social Prescribing?

The NHS is planning to hire thousands of link workers across the UK to help more people benefit from this holistic approach to health all over the UK. It’s a sign that healthcare is evolving to include more than just traditional medicine and considering a more holistic approach.

Capable Communities is constantly evolving and improving its service to better assist our clients,. We take feedback from our service users regularly and ensure we are meeting their needs. Our activities roster is continually growing and adapting to the needs of our service users to ensure they are feeling engaged and excited to attend!

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