Self-management and Social Prescribing for Improved Mental Health

What is Social Prescribing?

Dr Karen Adam explains what is Social Prescribing in this short video clip.

Social prescribing is one means of supporting self-management.  It is an approach (or range of approaches) for connecting people with non-medical sources of support or resources within the community which are likely to help with the health problems they are experiencing.  Social prescribing has been used with a range of client groups and draws on a wide range of different community based services.  These include opportunities for the arts, physical activity, learning, volunteering, social support, mutual aid, befriending, self-help as well as support with benefits, debt, legal advice and parenting (Friedil et al 2007).


Evidence for Social Prescribing

This Research Briefing Paper provides an overview of the published research evidence on social prescribing in the context of mental health problems.  A rapid review of the published literature shows how social prescribing has been applied in relation to mental health, the effectiveness of these approaches as well as factors that facilitate or hinder service implementation and/or uptake.  The review also considers how social prescribing may contribute to reducing mental health inequalities.


Implementation Guidance Paper

This Implementation Guidance Paper draws on published research, local practice and evaluations, and learning from champions who are leading locally based approaches to social prescribing in Scotland.  This paper will be of particular interest to policy makers, planners and commissioners of services which aim to improve mental health well-being and prevent and treat mental health problems and work to address mental health inequality.


Social Prescribing services across Scotland

ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland) is a search and collaboration tool for Health and Wellbeing resources in Scotland. It helps signpost people to useful community support, and with an ALISS account you can contribute the many and varied resources that our local communities have to offer.  This is a national Social Prescribing tool.

There are lots of local social prescribing services across Scotland.  A series of written case studies illustrate social prescribing processes in various organisations.  Video case studies have also been developed to demonstrate social prescribing.


Information and tools to support your Social Prescribing service

In addition to the Implementation Guidance Paper, the following webpages provide more information, with a suite of tools and resources, to help support your social prescribing service.


National Social Prescribing Event

NHS Health Scotland and The Alliance hosted a national event on the 4th February 2015 sharing knowledge and practice about social prescribing and self-management for mental health.  This event raised awareness of the range of self-management and social prescribing approaches and resources in place; focused on particular priorities including engagement with Primary Care and the third sector, reducing inequality, building capacity across services and monitoring and evaluation of approaches; encouraged greater use of the digital tools available, both at national and local levels.  All presentations are available here.


Useful websites and networks for Social Prescribing

Deep End Report - Social prescribing- The eighth activity of "General Practitioners at the Deep End" (2010)

Scottish Government - Developing Social Prescribing and Community Referrals for Mental Health in Scotland

Nesta - More than medicine: New Services for People Powered Health

The Art of Social Prescribing Informing Policy on Creative Interventions in Mental Health Care

Community Action Southwalk - Social Prescribing (2015)

A Dose of Nature: addressing chronic health conditions by using the environment, University of Exeter (2014)

Nature and Health, Hartig et al (2014)

The Great Outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all, Gladwell et al (2013)

The Great Outdoors: how our natural health service uses greenspace to improve well-being - Briefing statement from the Faculty of Public Health in association with Natural England (2010)