A whole community approach to ending social isolation through a social prescribing network

What is Social Prescribing?

Loneliness and social isolation are recognised as pressing issues facing societies around the world, and can have serious consequences for individual health and wellbeing such as an increased risk of coronary heart disease, an increase in risk of stroke, poor mental health and increased likelihood of mortality. Evidence shows that people who frequently attend GP appointments are often socially isolated and require a social solution alongside of a medical solution.

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients or community members in primary care with sources of group support within the community, all via a Link Worker. Connecting individuals with local organisations and groups has potential to impact not only directly on the individual’s mental and physical health but also indirectly through increased social contacts, improved access to services and ultimately improved social networks within the community. It also provides medical professionals with non-medical referral options that can operate alongside existing treatments.

Our Ways to Wellness Community Link Worker will work with your patient to assist them identify activities they might be interested in and together, connect them with local classes, social groups and clubs within the community.

The Community Link Worker will meet with your patient to learn about their lifestyle and interests and together identify activities that will enable and support them to reach their health and wellbeing goals.

Together you will be able to:

  • Explore what is important for your patient’s life and wellbeing
  • Identify the local activities and social groups your patient can benefit from
  • Assist your patient in gaining support and encouragement to start using services that can help them

To refer your patient to our Community Link Worker, please complete our Patient Referral Form (click here) or contact us on:

Examples of Social Prescribing
and Evidence it Works

Exercise groups

ParkRun Australia operates free, timed and supported 5km walking/running courses in 350 locations around Australia. Glen Turner, the Health and Wellbeing coordinator at ParkRun Australia is working with the RACGP to refer patients to ParkRun as a social prescribing option. An RCT found that compared to treatment as usual, depressed patients who engaged in light or intense exercise were significantly less depressed 12 months later.

Singing and Art groups

There are arts groups in most communities (choir, art classes, drama/theatre, creative writing, dance, and so on). Some examples in Brisbane are the School of Hard Knocks (now called Upbeat Arts) and Reclink. A systematic review of studies involving group singing with adults experiencing mental health conditions found that singing produced improved mental health and wellbeing, with effect sizes in the same range as effective psychotherapy and medication treatments.

Men’s Sheds

There are almost 1000 Mens Sheds across Australia offering a range of technical, trades, arts and cultural group activities, volunteering, and social events for men. Mt Gravatt Men’s Shed is one of the largest in Australia. Preliminary research shows that older Australian men who attend a Men’s Shed report decreased depression, increased wellbeing and increased sense of pride and achievement.

What the Research says?

Mt Gravatt Community Centre
1693 Logan Rd, Upper Mount Gravatt QLD 4122
P: 0491 625 869
E: linkworker@mgcci.org.au

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