What is social prescribing? Social prescribing is an holistic approach to healthcare that brings together the social and medical models of health and wellbeing. Social prescribing recognises that health is heavily determined by social factors such as poverty, employment, housing and childhood experiences. Social Prescribing offers GPs and other health professionals a means of referring people to a range of local, non-clinical services such as physical activity groups, reading clubs, arts and creativity workshops, stress management programmes, financial advice services, men’s sheds, community gardening, and many more. Social prescribing is not a replacement for adequate clinical services, nor is it a social work or counselling service. It is a complementary service that aims to address the broader determinants of health and wellbeing in a personalised and empowering way.
The principles of social prescribing outlined in the HSE Social Prescribing Framework, 2021 are:
Focus on the needs of the individuals in an holistic way.
Empower the individual to become co-producers of their health and wellbeing.
Consider the broader determinants of health, including environmental, social, and economic factors.
Focus on early intervention and prevention.
Emphisise building social connections and forging social capital.
Utilise local support and services including community, voluntary and private sectors.