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The role of social prescribing link workers, specialist mental health link workers, health and well-being coaches, working closely with mental health practitioners is a proactive way to support local Communities with a range of mental health support.  Social prescribing is an important approach to Self-Management of mental health. It is based on a clear rationale that supporting people to access and use non-medical sources of support can help address poor mental health and contribute to improved mental health. There are a wide range of approaches to social prescribing for mental health, these use different models, target different populations and have different intended outcomes.  Many of the best practice examples of primary care mental health services, is where they have strong links to community support and social care, focusing on early intervention and prevention and enabling and supporting people to connect, engage in activities that improve their mental health and emotional and physical well-being.

One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but most of us don’t get professional help. Of those of us who do get treatment, the majority are treated within primary care. This is why good mental health support in primary care is so important and links to community activities that promote wellbeing essential to reduce demand on primary and secondary care, but to also connect people to support and services that can work with them over time to improve how they are feeling

Local GPs and other primary care staff, are often the first place we go for healthcare advice and support.  Often people don’t discuss their mental health directly. In fact, they may discuss other concerns that are impacting on or are related to their mental health. It may be a physical health issue or a social matter such as relationship problems, stress, poverty, unemployment or work related issues, welfare benefits, financial worries and social isolation. Prior to the pandemic, this lead to people attending their GP practice frequently before their underlying mental health are understood and potentially addressed.  Primary care staff have a clear understanding of just how much our mental and physical health are related. For example, those with physical long-term conditions, such as diabetes, or chronic pain, there will often come a struggle with mental health  and supporting peoples mental health together with their physical health can often have better outcomes when both are addressed.  Growing the primary care workforce with social prescribing link worker, health and well-being coaches and care co-ordinators can significantly support a wider support offer to patient and Communities and lead us to better understand what keeps us well.

Traditionally GP’s who had limited access to refer people to talking therapies, or long  waiting lists, for talking therapies, can now refer to health and well-being coaches, social prescribing link workers and we see some employing specific specialist mental health link workers, who work in an integrated way, with their mental health practitioners, reducing the over dependency on clinic interventions when these are not necessarily

We’ll be hearing from primary care and those working in primary care networks about how they are managing and responding to the challenges and increasing number of referrals for mental health support.


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Name: Personalised Care Events