In a world that often feels disconnected and isolated, where the digital realm can overshadow our sense of community, the healing power of human connection has never been more necessary. Social prescribing offers a holistic approach to healing by recognizing the fundamental connection between our physical, mental, and social well-being.
Rather than relying solely on medication, social prescribing empowers individuals to take an active role in their own recovery. By prescribing non-medical interventions, such as community activities, peer support groups, art therapy, or gardening projects, individuals can find and foster a sense of purpose and belonging. Moreover, engaging in meaningful social interactions and activities has been shown to reduce feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. It can also boost self-esteem and enhance resilience, by providing opportunities for learning new skills. Consequently, social prescribing addresses the root causes of poor health and recognizes that well-being is not solely the absence of disease but a state of flourishing in all aspects of life.
The origins of social prescribing can be traced back to the 1990s in the United Kingdom, where it was initially developed as a response to the growing recognition that medical interventions alone were insufficient to address the complex needs of individuals. Social prescribing emerged as a collaborative effort involving healthcare providers, community organizations, and local authorities, aiming to bridge the gap between clinical care and social support.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the popularity of social prescribing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend. The isolation, stress, and mental health challenges brought on by the pandemic have highlighted the importance of addressing the broader social factors that impact our health. As a result, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and communities have increasingly turned to social prescribing as a solution to support the well-being of individuals who were greatly impacted by the pandemic.
NHS England. (2019, January 31). Personalised care. https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/social-prescribing-and-community-based-support-summary-guide/
Ontario Hospital Association. (n.d.-b). Social Prescribing – Oha.com. Population Health Series: Social Prescribing. https://www.oha.com/Bulletins/Social%20Prescribing.pdf
Social Worker – Arabic Speaking