Social Prescribing: Holistic and Community Based Approach to Health and Well-being

   08 Apr 2019

Social Prescribing Coordinators support individuals to access community based activities and supports such as exercise classes, social groups, creative activities, volunteering opportunities, employment services and educational courses. We work in conjunction with health services and increase the uptake of local supports and services. In Offaly, Social Prescribing services are available free of charge to people over 18 regardless of their income or employment status.

The issues of loneliness and isolation emerge from an array of circumstances, such as family breakdown, bereavement, leaving education early, unemployment, lone parenting, addiction, ill health, caring responsibilities or migration.

If people are not supported they can find themselves with reduced confidence, self-esteem and motivation. All of these factors can cause them to feel isolated. As social prescriber co-ordinator, my role is to work with them and support them to access the right services for their needs.

Social Prescribing is particularly beneficial for people:

• With vague or unexplained symptoms

• With symptoms of mild depression or anxiety

• Who are frequent attendees at GP Practices (more than 12 visits per year),

• With poor social connections

• Who are disadvantaged, isolated and vulnerable

• Who are low income lone parents, recently bereaved elderly people, people with chronic physical illness and people newly arrived into our communities

• With long term and enduring mental health problems.

• People who are lonely
 

The benefits of Social Prescribing are:

• Improved mental health and wellbeing

• Increased social supports and networks

• Reduced social exclusion and improved social connectedness

• Improved self-esteem

• Increased community involvement

• Improved independence due to the emphasis on self-direction and personal choice

• An opportunity to learn a new skill and increase self-confidence

There is no doubt that the project has had a significant impact on all those that have engaged and outcomes are very positive. Loneliness and isolation are having a major impact on individuals’ lives and putting extra strain on an already overstretched health system. Social Prescribing provides the opportunity for people to look to the community around them and to discover the range of services available in their local area.

If you or someone you know could benefit from getting involved please contact:

Amanda Caulfield, Social Prescribing Co-Ordinator

Email : acaulfield@offalyldc.ie Tel: 057 9352467 Mobile 087 7470562

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