Researchers and doctors know that the social determinants of health—access to child care, healthy food, community, activities, and more—contribute to 80% of health and well-being. Social prescriptions are becoming more common, and here are three recent examples from the UK.
The Comic Will See You Now
They say laughter is the best medicine, and in this case, it might also be just what the doctor ordered. Angie Belcher, a comic with a background in psychology, has teamed up with the National Health Service (NHS)-backed Wellspring Settlement Social Prescribing unit in Bristol to prescribe comedy classes to patients. The “comedy on referral” class is aimed at helping those suffering from postnatal depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and more. With group work, games, and one-on-one coaching, the classes are a way to remove the taboo around discussing mental health. The pilot has been labeled a success and has now won funding from the NHS to help men at risk of suicide in London, England.
Studies have shown that financial stress can have a significant impact on your physical health, and now a new program is looking to target both. Led by the Centre for Responsible Credit and funded by Impact on Urban Health, Financial Shield is a pilot program that aims to provide residents in Lambeth and Southwark with “more time and space, without the threat of debt enforcement, to address their financial and health problems.”
A Walk a Day
Research and experience reveal that spending time in nature can do wonders for your mental and physical health. A cross-government Green Social Prescribing project in the UK is trying out ways of improving health and well-being through connecting people with nature and green spaces. Seven projects—including ones that teach people the joys of swimming in open water, working in community gardens, and generally hanging out in nature—have received £85,000 to explore how nature can improve health and well-being.