We know that many of life’s problems can make us feel unwell. GPs tell us that a lot of people visit them feeling isolated or lonely; stressed out by work, money or housing problems; the stress of managing a long term health condition may be getting them down; they may not know what is making them feel low but they have come to their GP searching for help.
That is where Social Prescribing comes in.
Social prescribing Link Workers are present in each surgery in Healthier West Wirral to help patients identify and link with sources of support within the community. These non-medical referral options can complement existing medical treatments to improve health and well-being.
Social Prescribing Link Workers are not medical professionals but have been specially trained to work alongside GPs and other clinical roles to ensure people get the care and support they need.
The role of a Social Prescribing Link Worker is to give people a chance to talk, listen to them carefully, offer emotional and practical support and provide them with the advice, information and support they need whatever their worries, questions or concerns.
Some examples of the type of support that can be provided are listed below:
- Being a non-judgemental listening ear; empowering with tools and techniques to balance every day stresses
- Referral into a specialist service for example for money advice (benefits, debt, and budgeting), housing needs, domestic abuse
- Encouragement to address lifestyle issues including healthy eating and physical activity, support to reduce dependency on alcohol, tobacco and other substances
- Support to manage a new health diagnosis or to positively manage a long term condition
- Joining a new course in the community where education and learning would be of benefit
- Referral into a specialist service for counselling and other mental health support
- Finding out what is available in the local community to help combat isolation and loneliness
- Finding a support group for a specific condition/health need
- Resolving practical issues around accessing food, fuel, prescriptions
To speak to your Social Prescribing Link Worker please ask a member of your GP practice or your health care professional to make a referral.