The NHS describe social prescribing as: 

Social prescribing is a means of enabling GPs and other frontline healthcare professionals to refer people to ‘services’ in their community instead of offering only medicalised solutions. Often the first point of referral is a link worker or ‘community connector’ who can talk to each person about the things that matter to them. Together they can co-produce a social prescription that will help to improve their health and wellbeing. The community activities range from art classes to singing groups, from walking clubs to gardening, and to many other interest groups.  It is taking off across the country, particularly with people who are lonely or isolated; people with mild mental health issues who may be anxious or depressed; and, those who struggle to engage effectively with services. (See NHS England.)

Why is the Centre interested in social prescribing?

Ecopsychology informed interventions such as Green Exercise and Blue Exercise can be social prescriptions that involve walking groups and exercise clubs. These interventions can enhance wellbeing and self-esteem.

Mind in Bexley Social Prescribing project

Social prescribing enables health professionals to refer clients and patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local services which are often provided by the voluntary and community sector. The video below provides an example of the charity Mind in Bexley running a social prescribing project for the local community with positive results.

Care Options: Social Prescribing in Primary Care Teams

Social prescribing is emerging as an area of practice in mental health promotion and prevention and primary care provision. It involves primary care teams coordinating referrals of clients with mild to moderate depression or anxiety, to psychosocial/practical group activities within their communities. The full report can be viewed on the National Office for Suicide Prevention website The video below provides an interesting overview. 

The Social Value of Social Prescribing | Chris Dayson | TEDxStPeterPort

Chris Dayson discusses how to maximise the social value of social prescribing to create happier, healthier patients, more efficient public services and a vibrant civil society. It draws on a broad body of research to propose three principles – understand, invest and evaluate – through which this can be achieved.


For further information about social prescribing, please visit  THE SOCIAL PRESCRIBING NETWORK.