As part of ‘National Social Prescribing Day’ (18th March) the Rainbow Centre celebrate the Wrexham wide Social Prescribing project which continues to deliver mental health and wellbeing support to patients at GP Surgeries across Wrexham.
Around 1 in 10 adults were experiencing some form of depression prior to the coronavirus pandemic and this figure has doubled to 1 in 5 during the pandemic (ons.gov 2020). As a result, there has been growing demand for services that can support people to manage their own mental health and wellbeing and to address experiences that the pandemic is highlighting. This can include domestic abuse, loneliness and isolation, caring responsibilities, bereavement, depression, anxiety, and job insecurity to name but a few.
Loneliness and isolation alone can have a devastating effect on the quality and length of life people will lead. The impact of being socially isolated means you are more likely to die younger than someone who smokes 15 cigarettes a day or someone who has diabetes.
Which is why the Rainbow Centre are delighted to have received its third year of funding from Betsi Cadwaldyr University Health Board to continue to deliver the Wrexham wide Social Prescribing Service. The service is based in all GP surgeries across Wrexham and has supported 963 patients to improve their health and wellbeing during the last 2 years.
Geraldine Vaughan Operational Manager said, ‘Social prescribing offers an opportunity to help patients and GPs navigate through available options, it focuses on building people’s personal resilience and ability to take control of their own health and wellbeing when faced with challenging life events’.
Ellie Vaughan, Senior Social Prescribing Link Worker gives us an insight into what Social Prescribing is and how it works to support service users:
‘The Social Prescribers have the time to consider the person they see as people with lives and to support them to explore what they want in life – and how they can achieve it.
We provide support that addresses the social and environmental issues that the person is experiencing as they have such a big impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
We provide direct talking therapy to clients to establish what matters to them and assist them to reach achievable goals which support good mental health. We are also able to refer to a wide range of support services, including social services and the citizens advice bureau as well as helping clients to reengage with their community.
We understand that to address non-medical conditions, it is not as simple as telling a person what to do but providing support and working with people. Helping to identify and remove barriers enables people to focus on behaviour change, but that cannot happen until the barrier has been removed. There is no point prescribing a carers support group if the person is too anxious to join or they have no transport to attend. Until those barriers are overcome, they cannot participate.
For some patients, what matters to them is reengaging back into the community. To support this the Social Prescribers’ work alongside local area-based Community Agents. Community Agents can introduce people to local groups or activities that help to reduce loneliness and enable people to reconnect. During the pandemic community agents have worked alongside social prescribers, supporting people to access essential supplies, prescriptions, care, and meals on wheels. As we slowly move out of lockdown many community groups are readying themselves for new members.
We know that people need services that can support them to manage their mental health and wellbeing as they navigate through life challenges.’
If you would like support in moving forward in your life, are registered to with a GP surgery in Wrexham and are over the age of 18, ask a staff member of your GP practice to refer you to the Social Prescribing Link Worker.
Taking place on March 18th, Social Prescribing Day aims to celebrate the projects, activities and initiatives that are set up to maintain the health and wellbeing of our communities.
About the Rainbow Centre
Established in 1994, The Rainbow Centre are an award-winning local charity working to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities through offering a range of services based at its hubs in Penley and Marchwiel and via outreach services across Wrexham.