social prescribing

Discover 5 ways social prescribing boosts employees’ mental well-being

‘Social prescribing’ is a strategy launched by the NHS England involving social interventions rather than medical interventions to help individuals. This is done through different support groups such as charities or community groups. 

This initiative seeks to address problems holistically and as an alternative to medication. It includes strategies to improve both physical and mental health. This article discusses the benefits of this strategy and how it can be implemented in the workplace to boost employees’ mental well-being

What is social prescribing? 

Social prescribing enables health professionals to guide people to various local, non-clinical services. It is a way for individuals to take control of their health through a range of community-centered outcomes. Social prescribing can be aimed at the following people:

  • with one or more long-term conditions 
  • who suffer from mild physical health conditions
  • who need support with their mental health
  • who feel lonely 
  • who have complex social needs that affect their health and well-being

Social prescribing involves a range of activities, and it also depends on what is available in the community groups and charities that volunteer to put these activities forward. Before handing out a ‘list’ of different activities and groups employees can join, it is important for those in charge of implementing this initiative to do a study or survey to know what their employees need. Here are some examples of social prescribing activities: 

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  • Gardening
  • Volunteering
  • Nutrition guidance
  • Creative activities (art, dance, cooking…) 
  • Exercise 
  • Legal advice
  • Support groups
social prescribing

The role of the link worker 

A link worker in social prescribing is a professional who plays an essential role in connecting individuals in the community with non-medical sources of support and activities. Link workers are familiar with local community groups, identify community resources, recognise gaps in community provision, and find creative ways to foster community development with local commissioners and partners.

The aim of social prescribing and the role of link workers is to address not only the medical aspects of health but also the social factors that can significantly affect a person’s quality of life. By connecting people to relevant community resources, link workers aim to improve mental health, reduce social isolation, and improve overall health outcomes holistically.

How can social prescribing help in the workplace? 

Can social prescribing be implemented at work? Yes. Social prescribing in the workplace can offer a range of benefits for both employers and employees. Social prescribing recognises that well-being is not a one-size-fits-all concept. By implementing social prescribing in the workplace, employers can offer diverse activities and services that cater to their employees’ unique needs and preferences. This tailored approach allows individuals to choose activities that resonate with them, increasing the likelihood of sustained engagement. Here are some potential advantages:

1. Addresses social isolation 

Although employees are surrounded by other employees, it doesn’t mean that they have daily exchanges with them or connect with them. The workplace can be daunting for some who struggle with social interchanges. Social prescribing initiatives often include opportunities for social interaction and community engagement, which can be especially important in combating feelings of social isolation. This is particularly relevant in remote or isolated work environments. 

2. Work-life balance

Social prescribing encourages individuals to pursue a more balanced lifestyle by combining activities that contribute to overall well-being. Some employees may not have the motivation to lead a healthy or fulfilling life outside the workplace due to work-related stress or burnout. Therefore, social prescribing can be a good way to get involved in activities that can take their mind off work and even motivate them to take it up as a hobby. This balance can lead to improved work-life integration and satisfaction. 

3. Boosts productivity and engagement 

Implementing social prescribing programmes in the workplace can have the dual benefit of increasing employee engagement and improving productivity. By providing opportunities for social interaction, community involvement, and personal development, social prescribing fosters a sense of connectedness among employees, positively influencing job satisfaction. At the same time, a healthier and more engaged workforce, achieved through activities that encourage physical well-being and stress reduction, shows greater focus and efficiency, contributing to overall productivity in the workplace.

4. Cost saving

While the initial investment in social prescribing programs may be required, the potential long-term benefits, such as reduced healthcare costs, decreased absenteeism, and increased productivity, can lead to overall cost savings for employers. Satisfied, healthy, and engaged employees are more likely to stay with an organisation, reducing the costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and training new employees.

5. Boosts mental well-being

By integrating mental well-being activities into social prescribing initiatives, employers acknowledge the interconnectedness of mental health and overall well-being. The aim is to empower employees with practical strategies to cope with the pressures of work and life, fostering an environment that prioritises mental well-being. As employees actively participate in these activities, they not only gain valuable skills for managing stress, anxiety, and depression but also contribute to creating a workplace culture that values and supports holistic health.

Implementing social prescribing in the workplace is a strategic investment in employees’ health. By fostering a culture that prioritses holistic well-being, companies can create a positive and supportive work environment that contributes to both individual and organisational success.

social prescribing

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Mental well-being solutions for organisations 

The key to optimal well-being is to implement preventative strategies to avoid mental health issues arising in the first place. Initiatives such as social prescribing can help foster work-life balance and tackle social isolation; these are key factors affecting employees today. 

At ifeel, we partner with companies worldwide to inspire human growth and guide organisations in cultivating a positive mental well-being culture. We use a tailored and people-centric approach that places your employees’ health at the core as a fundamental pillar in attracting and retaining talent and enhancing their sense of belonging. Try our programme now and see how it can help you and your workforce.

Ifeel is a unique, comprehensive, and scalable solution that uses the power of data to provide a holistic understanding of your employees’ mental well-being while ensuring service quality and confidentiality for your team.

We hope you found this article on social prescribing useful. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for companies, simply request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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