£3.6 million of social determined funding for mental health support | Daily News Byte

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  • Social prescribing helps improve mental health by linking people to community services, reducing pressure on GPs and over-prescribing.
  • The additional funding builds on previous success, which supported 36 projects, helping more than 10,000 people.

Thousands of people will continue to access innovative mental health support, which has been proven to improve healthy lifestyles, reduce over-prescribing and save capacity for GPs, following £3.6 million of government funding for the National Academy of Social Prescribing.NASP).

Social prescribing can support people experiencing grief, addiction, dementia and loneliness through a wide range of community-led social activities, services and opportunities that have been shown to benefit people’s health and well-being.

These can include gardening clubs to help people socialize and learn new skills, new exercise classes to boost confidence and be healthy, as well as financial advice for people with money worries, among many other initiatives.

Grants will help NASP Its previous successes include the Thriving Communities Fund, which has established 36 projects helping more than 10,000 people and championing local community and voluntary groups.

It has also introduced academic support to develop a strong evidence base for social prescribing and the benefits it can bring to a country’s health. It will continue to build innovative partnerships between the health system and the voluntary sector to ensure social prescribing reaches those most in need.

With Christmas approaching and many people feeling the negative effects of loneliness over the festive period, Social Prescription provides tools for people to manage their mental health and meet others in their community.

Minister of State for Social Care, Helen Whatley said:

Social prescribing is an unsung hero in helping thousands of people get the support they need to get through difficult times – whether it’s low self-esteem, dementia or loneliness.

I’m really pleased that we’ve agreed new funding for the National Academy of Social Prescribing, so it can continue the valuable work it does day in and day out to support the nation’s health.

Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, said:

With many people struggling with their mental health and loneliness, particularly over the festive period, social prescribing offers a proven innovative approach to supporting their wellbeing.

Mental health is a priority and people need to have access to the tools and support they need – this funding will provide much-needed help to people with a wide range of needs, as well as reducing pressure on GPs and freeing up appointments.

In 2019, the government set out a manifesto commitment to expand and expand social determinants. NASP.

Examples of opportunities that can be promoted through funding include:

  • Assistant NASP Continuing to take forward recommendations from the Power of Music report using musical activities to support people with dementia
  • International delivery of Social Prescribing Day 2024, bringing people together on local, national and global platforms to share learning and promote breakthroughs in social prescribing
  • Creating products such as podcasts to demonstrate the benefits of connected social prescribing systems
  • Launching new socially determined evidence reviews, which will be published in spring 2023

Professor Dame Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the National Academy for Social Prescribing, said:

We are delighted to receive continued support from the Department for Health and Social Care, in recognition of the positive impact social prescribing has on the health and wellbeing of our communities. As a frontline GP, I know that if someone comes to me because they are lonely or isolated, social prescribing can be the best support I can offer.

I am so incredibly proud NASP derived from its conception. Over the past few years, despite the limitations of the pandemic, we have funded significant social prescribing projects, published compelling evidence summaries and signed up 25 countries to develop social prescribing services around the world. With this funding, we are thrilled to be able to continue this work to achieve our ultimate goal: to help people live the best lives they can.

Equality Minister, Stuart Andrew said:

The festive period can be a particularly lonely time for many people as there is more emphasis on spending time with friends and family.

Through social prescribing, healthcare professionals are able to connect those in need with a range of community-led services, helping to improve mental wellbeing, build networks and reduce loneliness.

This extra £3.6 million in funding for the National Academy of Social Prescribing will provide an extra level of support for those who need it most.

James Sanderson, Director of Personalized Care and Community Services at NHS England, said:

Giving people more choice and control over their own health and care was an important part of the NHS long-term plan, and we have exceeded our ambitions, providing personalized care, including social prescriptions, to millions of people.

The funding should put even more options and evidence in the hands of local NHS teams, so they can better support the record number of people experiencing mental health problems since the start of the pandemic.

A case study

Social prescribing can help people with a wide range of problems, including grief, and support people struggling with addiction.

Dale, who lives in north London, recently joined a men’s woodwork group run by St Margaret’s House – which also received a grant from the Thriving Communities Fund. After leaving rehab, where he sought treatment to help with alcohol and drug addiction, the group gave Dale a space to connect and be creative.

He said:

There is a famous saying: ‘The opposite of addiction is association’. For me, creative endeavor is key. Before I succumbed to addiction, I was the lead singer in a choir but I let go of many of those mistakes. I just want to reconnect, have some sort of life.

I think social prescription is integral to what people need. You need to interact with people who are different from you. Every different type of person you come across is a lesson.

Background information

The National Academy for Social Prescribing is an organization dedicated to the advancement of social prescribing through promotion, collaboration, and innovation. It works to build partnerships in arts, health, sport, leisure and the natural environment, among other aspects of our lives, to promote health and wellbeing at national and local levels. It will champion the work of local communities in social prescribing and engaging people for well-being.

National Academy for Social Prescribing and the Power of Music Report

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