Social prescribing, also known as ‘community referral’, is a person-centred program in which medical professionals such as GPs and healthcare workers refer patients to community-based supports and services. The aim of this non-medical model of care is to improve the patient’s health and wellbeing by addressing specific health risk factors such as loneliness, isolation and depression. 

As a concept, social prescribing recognises that people’s health and wellbeing are largely determined by a range of social, economic and environmental factors. Those who benefit most from community-based supports that foster social connections are people whose poor health outcomes are caused by circumstances and situations that are detrimental to their health and wellbeing. If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, lacking in confidence or overwhelmed by the demands of life, social prescribing can help you reconnect with the community, find purpose and get greater enjoyment from life. 

A wide range of community supports are available, including volunteer visitor programs and online communities like Feros Care’s In Great Company and Virtual Social Centre, both of which are designed to help those who struggle to connect with community activities and support groups.