Wellbeing, community and social prescribing

Wellbeing in London

There is a growing concern with increasing levels of loneliness and dissatisfaction in England. A recent report by the Health Foundation highlighted the growing feelings of loneliness in our youth population and projections of poorer health associated with loneliness and housing stress.1 Recent data show 1 in 4 Londoners do not experience high levels of life satisfaction or happiness and nearly 1 in 5 Londoners do not feel very worthwhile.2

Social support is particularly important in increasing resilience, avoiding lifestyle risks and promoting recovery from illness. Lack of social networks and support, and chronic loneliness, produce long-term damage to physiological health via raised stress hormones, poorer immune function and cardiovascular health. Loneliness also makes it harder to self-regulate behaviour and build willpower and resilience over time, leading to engagement in unhealthy behaviours.3

Despite this more than 1 in 4 people do not have a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood and nearly 1 in 5 people think their area has got worse to live in over the past 2 years.4

Social prescribing and community-asset mapping

“The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital”

Social Prescribing’ attempts to harness that power; a process by which individuals are referred (often from primary care) to groups, clubs or services in their local community. This may range from a sports club to a community activism group, community assets can also be used to address food access challenges through foodbanks and legal aid. As such the community holds a variety of services that can help and support all kinds of people but not everyone knows about them, this needs to be brought to the forefront through mapping the possibilities out there: community-asset mapping.

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