Join the social movement!

Updated: Mar 17, 2019

This year, the Bearsden Festival is connecting community, creativity and mental health and wellbeing, and we’re talking about ways that people can help themselves and others in community settings to improve how we feel and to stay well. Today is International Social Prescribing Day so we asked the Health Improvement Team to give us some background about what this means.

Social Prescribing.... what is it?

Whilst medical interventions are of course necessary to treat specific conditions or health problems, the importance of strong social networks and an active social life should not be underestimated. Evidence shows that people who have a strong network of social support are at less risk of social isolation and are more likely to better self manage their health conditions.

By making small changes to lifestyle behaviours and getting practical support for a wide range of social problems, people can protect and improve their health and wellbeing. Such evidence has led to a growing interest in what’s known as ‘social prescribing’.

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients with sources of support within the community. It provides GPs with a non-medical referral option for patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services, often provided by the voluntary and community sector. Social prescribing can operate alongside existing treatments to improve mental and physical health and well-being.

The main goal of social prescribing is to promote better patient outcomes, whether that is reduced anxiety, better management of diabetes or improved mental health.

Small scale pilots in East Dunbartonshire have shown that social prescribing leads to a more appropriate use of health care professionals’ time, and reduces unnecessary medical prescribing.

The overall outcome is to improve the wellbeing of patients by supporting them to:

· develop/enhance skills and behaviours that improve and protect wellbeing.

· increase social contact with support and peer networks.

· increase their participation in community activities.

· improve their mental health and wellbeing.

· get more active.

For more information, you can contact Connie Williamson from the Health Improvement team, or chat to your GP.

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