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Developing a New Programme of ‘Social Prescribing’

Louise Stewart has recently joined the Empower team on a temporary basis to identify and develop a model of Social Prescribing that will best suit our service across Fingal.

Social Prescribing is the use of non-medical supports to address the needs of people whose mental health is affected by depression or anxiety, and people who feel socially isolated.

It is a formal means of enabling primary care services to refer people to a variety of holistic, local, non-clinical projects and programmes in the community.

It is intended to reduce social exclusion for isolated and vulnerable people, and those with enduring mental health problems.

The benefits of Social Prescribing are:

  • Positive emotional, cognitive and social outcomes.
  • Addressing of the broader determinants of health.
  • Reduction of social exclusion for disadvantaged, isolated and vulnerable people and for those with enduring mental health problems.

Social Prescribing is an option for people over 18 years of age and is particularly beneficial for people:

  • With vague or unexplained symptoms
  • With symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Who are frequent attendees at GP practices (more than 12 visits per year),
  • With poor social supports
  • Who experience psychological difficulties
  • Who are disadvantaged, isolated and vulnerable
  • Who are low-income lone parents or recently bereaved elderly people or people with chronic physical illness or who are newly arrived into communities
  • Who are people with long-term and enduring mental health problems.

We hope that, once Louise has completed this piece of work over the next six months, we will be able to deliver a social prescribing service in Blanchardstown and Balbriggan.