That’s where social prescribing comes in. Social prescribing is a way for health professionals, such as social prescribing link workers based in a GP practice, to connect people to activities in the community for practical and emotional support.
It helps people get more control over their healthcare, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:
- have one or more long-term condition
- need support with their mental health
- are lonely or isolated
- have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
Social prescribing links them to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.
When social prescribing works well, people can be easily referred to social prescribing link workers from within their local area, for example, from the NHS – general practice, pharmacies, multi-disciplinary teams, hospital discharge teams – to fire service, police, job centres, social care services, housing associations and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. People can also refer themselves.