We worked with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to develop an application that would give people a ‘social prescription’ which would direct them to community activities or groups – instead of being prescribed drugs or other health interventions.
Launched in February 2013, the application was used in the William Budd Health Centre over a 12 month period. Patients were asked to complete a short questionnaire on tablet computers and were then given their ‘social prescription’.
The project came out of RSA research in the area, where over 350 people in Knowle West were interviewed to find out about their social networks. The project aimed to improve the wellbeing of people aged 18-30 and over 65 by increasing their community involvement and helping them build social connections.
There is lots of evidence that social activity can have a very positive effect on physical and mental wellbeing. Some evidence suggests that loneliness and isolation can be as detrimental to your health as smoking.
Bristol GP Dr. Marion Sterner said about the project: “This sort of initiative makes you enjoy your job more because it feels like it’s getting to the heart of problems.”
Social Mirror came out of an RSA research project, where over 350 people in Knowle West were interviewed to find out about their social networks. It’s hoped the project will improve local people’s wellbeing by increasing their community involvement and helping them build social connections.
“I can’t say enough about it because it has changed my life… if I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t have known about these walking groups. After I retired I felt like a recluse, three days a week I didn’t go out of the flat. I’ve now lost a stone in weight, I can talk to people quite freely which I didn’t before… I’ve stopped drinking alcohol – I don’t need it to help me sleep as the walks tire me out.” David Bird
“They come and meet other people like themselves and compare notes to their heart’s content, it’s much less isolating for them. I reckon I keep people out of doctors’ surgeries because of depression. They come here once a week and we are like a family.” Mary Hall, Lipreading Group at Knowle West Health Park