By Norma Wilson. Are you lonely? Do you feel isolated? Are you overwhelmed by your problems? Don’t give up because there may be a solution: Social Prescribing. If you have time, please go and have a look at the new display in the reception area of Greenway Community Practice.
WHAT IS IT?
The aim of social prescribing is to improve people’s quality of life. One way of doing this is for patients to get involved in local activities and community events. Social prescribing may also help people who attend their doctor with non-medical issues that are affecting their health and well-being by suggesting helpful things they can do to improve things. It can also give a bit of extra support with non-medical problems such as benefits, housing and debt.
WHO IS IT FOR?
It is for anyone who feels they would benefit from non-medical sources of support. Healthy Alternatives – Southmead Development Trust’s 1:1 link worker support is particularly helpful for people who might be struggling with –
- Loneliness or social isolation
- Needing practical support such as letter writing for welfare cases, benefit help, housing, debt work etc.
- Going to the GP a lot
- A need to improve self-care – such as through diet and exercise
- Low self-esteem or lack of self-confidence. This may include mild or moderate depression or anxiety
WHO PRESCRIBES IT?
If you want to know more about social prescribing or think that you would benefit from being referred for 1:1 support, then book an appointment with your GP. They will refer you for this extra support if appropriate. Some examples of ‘social prescription’ might be suggesting you join a walking group, join an exercise class or choir, or do some volunteering at a charity shop. But you don’t need to be ‘prescribed’ things by your GP! There is a Social Prescribing Information Folder in our surgery reception area, with lots of different groups, activities, and support for you to find out about and pursue. If you want a leaflet, ask a member of the reception team who will get you a copy.
You might like to try out some of the community activities on display? This display has been organised by patients involved with the Patient Participation Group (PPG). They have been working in collaboration with Colette Brown, Social Prescribing Co-ordinator at Southmead Development Trust, and the practice staff to bring information to patients about this valuable initiative. This display will be updated regularly with ‘hot off the press’ groups, activities and support that you can get involved in.
(photo: Dr Nick Halsey Social Prescribing Lead, Anita Deakin Receptionist, Julie Prior Practice Nurse)