Keeping the body in mind: Social prescribing and mental health

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All GPs will likely recognise the patient who does not have anything especially ‘wrong’, but who has a lot of questions and is keen to linger longer in the consultation than seems necessary.

Up to 20% of GP visits are for social rather than physical issues. Professor Katherine Boydell, Professor of Mental Health at mental health research and advocacy organisation the Black Dog Institute, has found these patients often experience social isolation, a condition that can have serious implications for mental and physical health.

‘Social isolation is a huge issue and is associated with a 29% increase in mortality,’ she told newsGP.

The issue of social isolation has come under particular focus in recent years. This is especially true in the UK, where extensive research has been undertaken on a possible solution – social prescribing, a holistic healthcare approach in which doctors prescribe a range of non-clinical, community-based services.

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