The case for Social Prescribing in Bristol
Addressing the issues that have a long-term impact on health and wellbeing
Recognising that people’s health is determined primarily by a range of social, economic and environmental factors, social prescribing seeks to address people’s needs in a holistic way. It also aims to support individuals to take greater control of their own health.
Using social prescribing to address inequalities
Bristol has repeatedly been near the top of the list of the best cities places to live in the UK (even topping the list several times). Bristol offers its residents so much in terms of opportunities for work, lifestyle and leisure. From our position at the heart of the city we completely agree that Bristol is fab - but we also acknowledge that, like many other cities around the world, there are areas of social inequality. We are acutely aware that not all members of our society have access to the same facilities or services due to:
- their financial position,
- their work status,
- their locale,
- negative experiences (such as abuse, violence or trauma) and
- the lack of opportunity to change their circumstances.
We exist to address these inequalities as they have a significant and lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of the people of our community. By directly addressing the underlying causes of poor physical, emotional and mental health, we are better able to support individuals to make positive changes.
There are many benefits to the social prescribing approach but the cornerstone for us is that it works. People become better informed in order to better understand the issues that impact them most and then are empowered to identify opportunities to change.
Focusing on the needs of the individual
Engaging in conversation with people without the barrier of limited time constraints that health practitioners have to face, we are able to understand the issues that have the biggest impact on an individuals wellbeing. We are building a relationship with the person in order that we can:
- work together to identify services and activities that benefit them most;
- tailor support based on their needs;
- provide a framework that keeps an individual fully engaged;
- keep 'in touch' with the needs of our community in order to introduce new activities and services
We believe that this more personalised social prescribing approach is far more effective than trying to offer more 'standardised' solutions to health and wellbeing.