Are Social Prescriptions Just What the Doctor Ordered?

Social prescriptions are non-medical interventions used to improve mental health and wellbeing.

This means that a doctor ‘prescribes’ treatment to work alongside, or as an alternative to, medication and psychological therapies – offering non-medical support within the community.

This new intervention recognises the effect that factors such as social isolation have on mental health. People can invest in their mental health and feel a sense of autonomy about their recovery – they have choice.

Examples of social prescriptions are:

  • Exercise
  • Learning
  • Arts

Who are social prescriptions for?

  • People who are isolated or socially excluded
  • People with mild to moderate depression
  • People with long-term mental health problems
  • Vulnerable or at-risk groups

What are the benefits?

  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • Increased mental health
  • Increased social inclusion – more friends and wider social networks
  • Increased skills and knowledge

An increase in the uptake of arts, leisure, education, volunteering, sporting and other activities by people using mental health services improves social contact and support, which can be the first step on the road to recovery. Engaging with others in a proactive and positive way and developing an individualised programme can provide a focus point in a person’s life that medication and psychological therapies don’t offer.

Is ‘an activity a day’ the new ‘apple a day’?

by Natasha Bolton, Marketing and Events Intern




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