Social Prescribing

Social prescribing, also referred to as community referral can help people to take more control of the factors that affect their health and wellbeing, including loneliness, isolation, stress, obesity, money, housing, work, and loneliness, all of which can be associated with people when a loved one dies.

With social prescribing, GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals can refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Voluntary and community sector organisations provide schemes involving a variety of activities including arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.

What is social prescribing?

The National Health Service (NHS) states that, ‘social prescribing' is a key component of Universal Personalised Care. It is an approach that connects people to activities, groups, and services in their community to meet the practical, social, and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing.’

Universal Personalised Care is the action plan for the rolling out of personalised care across England. It will benefit up to 2.5 million people by 2024, giving them the same choice and control over their mental and physical health that they have come to expect in every other aspect of their life.

The NHS website goes on to state that social prescribing works for all ages, but works particularly well for the following people, those who:

  • Have one or more long term conditions
  • Need support with low level mental health issues
  • Are lonely or isolated
  • Have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing

How is social prescribing relevant to CPJ Field?

We are very interested in how social prescribing can promote good mental health, helping to combat the symptoms of loneliness and isolation. We are very proud of the active role in the local communities that we serve both through charitable donations and offering direct support. We support many families at a time of great emotional stress. This includes the grief and loneliness that is associated with the death of a close family member or spouse.

What does CPJ Field do to support the work of social prescribing?

We are dedicated to caring for those that have died and for their family and friends left behind. We are equally proud of the strong relationships our colleagues build with the families in our care, and we continue to support them well beyond the funeral service, helping them to manage their grief and continue life without their loved one.

We run a ‘Never Alone’ programme, a series of community initiatives designed to help tackle loneliness and build links between people in the local community, which have begun to be signposted by local GPs as part of social prescribing.

Maria Butler, CPJ Field Community Champion in Buckinghamshire commented “For a number of years now, we have been putting on events in the local communities we serve to help tackle loneliness and build links between people in their local communities. From monthly coffee mornings, mindfulness workshops, knit and natter groups, gardening and book clubs, lunch clubs, inter-generational coffee mornings and much more.

C.P.J. Field not only care for those who have died, but also those who are left behind after a bereavement. Our events, that have been signposted as social prescribing solutions by healthcare professionals, work to combat loneliness as even a brief interaction with another person can brighten someone’s day.

On any given week, we can have upward of 15 people coming to our events to make connections with the wider community. We welcome anyone living in the Aylesbury region to come along.”

How effective is social prescribing?

Evidence is increasingly showing that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Studies indicate improvements in quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and reduced levels of depression and anxiety.

The Social Prescribing Academy has evidence that points to the success of social prescribing.

Social Prescribing Academy

Arts, culture, and creativity

There is a large body of evidence to show that taking part in art, exercise, music, creative and expressive activities, can lead to a wide range of benefits.

These include increased social interaction, decreased stress, adoption of healthy behaviours, and improved outcomes such as skills and employment.

Physical Activity

Taking part in physical activity can lead to a wide range of benefits. Improvements in physical and mental health, increased empowerment, and a reduction in the use of the health service are some of them.

Measuring outcomes for social prescribing

The evidence suggests that social prescribing can have a positive impact on a wide range of outcomes, including decreases in loneliness, improvements in mental health, expansion in social connections and in overall wellbeing. There is less evidence on the medium-long term impact of social prescribing, and more research in this area is required as the concept becomes better established.

Measuring Outcomes

How do you find out more about social prescribing in your area?

The Never Alone events are free and open to people of all ages, bereaved or not. For more information about Never Alone events happening in your area please refer to our various Facebook pages below.

There are many organisations that you can contact for support, including:

Age UK also provides lots of helpful information and the various areas have pages dedicated to how you can access help. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) also has a document entitled Prescribing advice, a pathway to health. CAB now provides advice in 712 different health settings including GP surgeries, hospitals or hospices, etc.

    CPJ Field offers the following to support you and your family:

    • Local activities to encourage engagement in the community
    • Free coffee mornings to make new friends in the local community and enjoy a drink in a friendly environment
    • Practical advice including referrals to specialists regarding probate, wills, estate management administration
    • Referrals and introductions to local creative, sports or fitness groups such as yoga, music, walking, rambling, and religious
    • Recommendations for grief counselling, loneliness support, mental health support and social prescribing

    There are many different models for social prescribing, but most involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access local sources of support. Our funeral homes pride themselves in providing links to local groups and activities to help with your wellbeing and that of others. We excel in the personal approach ensuring the funeral service you choose is more meaningful, touching and memorable and that you are fully supported in your life after the death of a loved one.