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Social Prescribing Day – What It’s All About

Social Prescribing Day 2019

Times are changing. So, too, is the way that we address people’s health and wellbeing. Social Prescribing Day puts a spotlight on one effective new approach.

Many people feel isolated, lonely, or stressed. There are countless reasons for this, but whatever the cause, it leaves people unwell, and unhappy. Naturally, those who find themselves in this situation do what we’ve been taught to do when something is wrong – they go to their GP.

But it isn’t that simple. Life and health are complex. When the root cause of someone’s problem is not within their body, but in their life circumstances, doctors and medication don’t always help. GPs estimate that at least 25% of patients visit for these sorts of non-medical issues. This creates a disheartening cycle as GPs are unable to help, and people don’t feel any better. Moreover, with NHS resources strained, it means more than a quarter of appointments are being filled when other options would better serve those patients. Social prescribing is a promising solution.

What is Social Prescribing?

Well, if a doctor can’t help, what can be done? A great deal, fortunately! Social prescribing offers a way to help people identify what’s wrong, what they really want, and how to work towards that.

When someone is referred to a service like Social Prescribing Portsmouth, they will meet with a worker. In our service, these people are Community Health & Wellbeing Partners. Elsewhere, they may be link workers, community navigators, or hold a different title. Together, they will work with you to find ways to begin fixing what you feel is wrong.

This may involve putting you in touch with community groups, trying new things, or figuring out how to connect you with the things that matter most. Loneliness and anxiety can make each day feel heavy. Worse, they can make it harder to break out and do the very things that would most help one’s wellbeing. Social prescribing helps to break down these barriers by giving people a clear plan to move forward.

Healthy London Partnership have produced a short animated video that explains how social prescribing works, and the good that it can achieve:

Why We’re Celebrating Social Prescribing Day

Since Social Prescribing Portsmouth launched in November 2018, we have had more than 100 referrals to the service. That’s 100+ people who were feeling like something less than themselves. Who doctors couldn’t help. But, together with the community, we have helped them to work towards wellness. Whether by providing advice and guidance, uniting them with like-minded people, or otherwise reducing isolation, that’s over 100 people who have taken steps to have a better tomorrow, rather than feeling stuck.

And we think that’s something worth celebrating.

To learn more about social prescribing, and to see it in action, follow the official Social Prescribing Day hashtag, #SocialPrescribingDay on social media Thursday 14th March 2019.