Calls for ‘social prescriptions’ to combat loneliness


The pathway post-COVID-19 is an opportunity for governments to introduce “social prescribing” to help those experiencing loneliness and declining mental health with a non-medical response, health advocates say. Source: The Australian.

As large parts of the nation emerge from lockdown a “shadow pandemic” is being left behind, said Jo Winwood, head of the Be Someone for Someone advocacy group, with growing psychological distress among teens, young adults and older Australians.

But rather than a clinical approach using antidepressants and sleeping pills, Ms Winwood argued the health system should be supporting people to reconnect with their communities and family through greater social support, a concept known as “social prescribing”.

Ms Winwood said pople could be supported through community activities such as volunteering, arts and culture and the environment.

She said social prescribing “treats the cause of isolation-related illness” and giving people a “helping hand to reconnect” instead of band-aided the symptoms

The concept is proving successful in the UK, where, under the NHS, GPs can refer patients to a case manager to help them with a plan for greater connection back into the community.


Non-medical response needed for people struggling to come out of lockdown (By Stephen Lunn, The Australian

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