Social Prescribing Conference held on May 12th in Letterkenny
An innovative conference on Social Prescribing for Health & Wellbeing was held in on 12th May in the Clanree Hotel, Letterkenny. While it is relatively new to Ireland, Social Prescribing has been successfully implemented in six areas in Donegal since September 2013. The conference was attended by approx 150 delegates, including representatives of the Community and Voluntary Sector, GPs and other members of Primary Care Teams and HSE staff from around the country.
Social Prescribing refers to the process of accessing non-medical interventions; it is a mechanism for linking people with sources of support within the community to improve physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Social Prescribing promotes the health and wellbeing of people by actively encouraging and supporting their participation in community-based activities and groups, such as Men’s Sheds, Exercise, Art classes, Community Gardening and Support Groups. People may also be linked to self-help programmes such as Stress Control or long term conditions self management programmes.
Introducing the conference, Anne Sheridan, Mental Health Promotion Officer with the HSE stated ‘Today is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the findings of the evaluation of the social prescribing programme which showed that it has significant positive benefits for participants in terms of increased wellbeing, and community participation, reduced GP visits and reduced levels of depression and anxiety.’
Social Prescribing is a joint initiative of the Health Promotion and Improvement Dept and the Social Inclusion Office, HSE and the Community Sector through Community Health Forums. Primary Care Teams set up and deliver projects in their own areas with support. To date funding has been provided by the National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP). The NOSP has also granted funding to develop a manual for social prescribing which will help others areas who wish to establish a Social Prescribing Programme.
For further information on how to participate in a Social Prescribing Programme please contact the Social Inclusion Office at 074 9123757
Figure 2 Speakers and participants at the Social Prescribing Conference
Figure 3 Social Prescibing Co-ordinators stride out … from l to r
Paul Kernan Social Prescribing Coordiantor Derryveagh
Miriam Mc Laughlin Asst Psychologist & Researcher of the Programme
Miffy Hoad Social Prescribing Coordinator Donegal Town
Triona Srafford Social Prescribing Coordinator Letterkenny
Lesley Newbury Social Prescribing Coordinator Fanad Rosguill
Caroline Barrett Social Prescribing Coordinator Ardara/Glenties Left, Paul Kernan,