Social Prescribing and the future of healthcare

Social prescribing is playing an increasingly important role in the UKs healthcare system.  We explain what social prescribing is and what value it brings to the local community

What is Social Prescribing?

Social prescribing is when primary care professionals such as GPs and nurses, direct patients to local, non-clinical services.

This process comes from the knowledge that health is determined by a mix of social, economic and environmental factors. Social prescribing encourages individuals to take greater control of their own health.

For more information about social prescribing, visit the NHS website.

Meet K

K suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome a condition which affects the auto immune system. This makes her tired most of the time, however K also experiences anxiety and depression regularly.

This isn’t just down to her condition, K often feels that her life stopped 13 years ago when her marriage broke apart and she lost close family members at the same time. K now cares for her twenty-year-old son who has autism and cerebral palsy. She often feels trapped and worries about the future for her son, but she has put in place things financially.

Her passions included getting lost in researching family and local history, she used to really enjoy it. K also enjoys crocheting. She knew she needed to do something to improve her well-being but felt anxious about it.

What happened next?

When K came to her doctor’s surgery and spoke to one of the Social Prescribing Link Workers, we gave her information about the Knit and Natter group that meets at Almondbury Library. We also pointed her in the direction of Carers Count, a service that offers information and support for carers in Kirklees.

Focusing on K’s passion for local history, we gave her information on Huddersfield Family History Society and the Local History group at Kirkburton Library. K seemed keen and said she was confident enough to access this by herself.

Where is K now?

Although previously K said she was confident enough to access the History group by herself she said she hadn’t been able to do any of her actions as she felt too low in the morning, each day felt like a constant battle for her. K knows she needs to push herself into doing things. We have arranged support for K to attend Kirkburton’s Local History group.

 K has now accessed the Local History Group at Kirkburton Library who have made her feel extremely welcome. K is passionate about local history and family history and she now feels confident enough to contribute to conversations and actively take part in discussions. Sharing her knowledge and skills with other members of the group.

Her mental health has improved by rekindling her passion for family history and she now feels like a part of the community.

The group discussed their future project of ‘oral history’. Which consist of having discussions with older members and residents; including those with dementia, to record their memories of Kirkburton and surrounding areas.

K has shown an interest in volunteering for this project. She has also arranged a sitter to stay with her disabled son as she knows she needs this time for herself to grow in confidence and improve her personal well-being.

“Thank you for helping me – I have really enjoyed it and I will be coming back next week. I needed someone to motivate me” – K, service user

K continues to attend the group’s weekly meetings and looks forward to seeing everyone and getting involved. She is also volunteering in the History Group’s planned Oral History Project and is actively researching. K has said that without the extra push and support from the team to access the group she wouldn’t have gone.

K said “it is just what I needed. Not all answers are medical”

How can you access support?

You can access social prescribing services through your GP practice, please ask at reception. You can also contact the Community Plus team on 01484 225224.

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