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Social prescribing

Social prescribing is help that doesn’t come in a pill, tube or bottle!

Instead, it connects people to activities, groups and services in their community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs affecting their health and wellbeing.

For example, you might feel happier and healthier if you get out for a regular walk with others, do something creative, volunteer or have a say on the things that matter to you and your local community.

Sometimes is easy to do these things. But sometimes you might need a little help to find out more about the support and opportunities out there! That’s where social prescribing comes in.

Social prescribing is free and confidential.

It connects you to information, support and activities that could help you feel healthy, supported and connected in your community to help you live well.

Watch this video to find out more about social prescribing.

Social prescribing can help you if you are:

  • Struggling with finances and need some advice
  • Feeling low, stressed or down
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Want to improve your management of a new or long-term health condition
  • Need help getting housing or employment advice
  • Want to get more active
  • Experiencing a change, for example a job loss, relationship breakdown or bereavement
  • Needing to talk through multiple things affecting your wellbeing

Find out how a social prescribing project has helped new mums who are feeling low, anxious and isolated.

Social prescribing involves a range of activities, groups and services. These are provided by voluntary, community, faith, social enterprise or organisations in:

  • Arts, culture, and heritage such as singing or craft
  • Nature-based gardening, conservation, fishing, or other outdoor activity
  • Group learning such as cookery
  • Social, befriending or peer support groups
  • Advice for housing, work, education, training, debt, benefits
  • Volunteering
  • Support services for example for carers, bereavement, domestic abuse, or relationships
  • That keep you moving such as walking, gardening or yoga

For instance, you might want to:

  • make friends by joining a community allotment session
  • gain work skills by volunteering at a community organisation
  • get financial advice to reduce your money stresses.

Watch this video about the Nature for Health social prescribing scheme in Greater Manchester.

Read more about Nature for Health or find out more about our plan to use culture and creativity to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Social prescribers are practical, helpful and non-judgemental professionals who talk with you about the things that are affecting your physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing – what matters to you!

They listen to you and support you to find ways to improve things.

What are they called?

These professionals might be called link workers, community connectors or have another name.

There is also a growing number of care coordinators who can support you to manage long term conditions. Meanwhile, health and wellbeing coaches can help you develop knowledge, skills and confidence to improve your health.

Social prescribers work in GP practices, councils and voluntary organisations, alongside your GP and other public services, to find support that’s right for you.

Julie, a social prescriber in Greater Manchester, explains what she does in this video.

Link workers start by getting to know you, the challenges you are facing, your interests and what connections you’d like to make in your community.

They take things at your pace and you work together to set and achieve goals to improve your wellbeing.

Link workers have lots of knowledge about local services and what’s going on in your community, so they will help you find the right support and information.

“I was in a total mess. I just couldn’t carry on.” Partick talks about how social prescribing helped him.

“I feel happier and healthier now.”

“I’m now enjoying full time employment and my finances are more secure.”

“I’ve got my confidence back and I’m part of the community.”

“I’ve got a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It’s got rid of a lot of negative thoughts.”

Read about out how social prescribing helped Darab.

Participants talk about how the Men’s Music for Health programme benefited them.

Social prescribing services are available to all adults across Greater Manchester, while children and young people’s link workers are increasing.

If this sounds like something that might help you, please speak to your GP practice who can connect you to your local team.

Please note, social prescribing is not an out-of-hours or crisis service.

Visit our mental health page for details of mental health crisis helplines.


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