Social prescribing making a difference to everyday life
The power of social prescribing is transforming lives across St Helens Borough.
Article date: 23 March 2022
Everyone can access social prescribing and GPs and other health professionals often suggest it to patients. It is about taking a holistic approach to someone's situation and through having different conversations with people can provide practical support for issues that may be linked to mental wellbeing, loneliness, debt, housing among many other things.
In St Helens Borough the Social Prescribing Link Worker service is provided by St Helens Wellbeing Service and is supporting people like Chris Hall.
The 46-year-old from Haydock made contact with the service after being recommended the service by his GP as a way to help with his mental health and was put in touch with link worker Marie Powner.
Chris said: "Marie and the team have been a big help, I'm not a good talker and she's pointed me in the right direction and supported me to get things sorted.
"They got me walking, setting goals for me to achieve in my own time in my own pace and just being there to talk to. Being able to talk to them and getting feedback in a non-judgemental way was great."
Working with Marie Chris is now working his way through his goals and by understanding what he enjoys and is good at, in Chris' case developing his practical skills, the targets are having a positive effect on his life.
"Marie sets goals and says 'can you have a go at it please and then we can tick it off the list?'. Being asked to do something rather than being told was different for me and what I needed to motivate me. It was a goal set for me rather than being told to do it," added Chris.
"I fitted windows in the attic, because I'm quite technically minded and with what my skills are she had all the faith I could do it myself - I went out and bought the windows and fitted myself and saved a lot of money,
"I'm in the process of setting up my own gym, Marie said why don't I give it a go. There isn't anything stopping me, I learnt how to weld and built a frame for a multigym. Little things like tidying up the garden too, they're all targets."
Chris encourages everyone who thinks they may benefit from the support that social prescribing link workers like Marie give to find out more.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: "Social prescribing is something that really can transform lives and it really focuses on drawing out someone's passions and what they can achieve, whether that's getting out exercising, reigniting those old hobbies and finding ways to connect with others through community groups through to people like Chris, who are learning new skills and making a difference to their lives.
"The Link Workers vary their time working with someone depending on their needs, anything from a week to a year.
"People like Marie are making a real difference to people's lives and getting them both the holistic support and referring people through to wider support when it's needed so that most aspects are being picked up without the need for traditional medical services."
To find out more about social prescribing contact your GP or St Helens Wellbeing Service at www.sthelenswellbeing.org,uk or call 01744 371111.