Resources and Events – Case Studies

SPRING Social Prescribing: November 2020

About The Project

SPRING Social Prescribing helps people 18+ to address social, emotional, and practical needs by connecting them to sources of support within their community to improve their health and wellbeing, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. During Covid-19, the Connect Well service was launched to provide support online and remotely, offering socially distanced visits and classes where appropriate, making sure clients felt connected and supported.

Background

SPRING Social Prescribing helps people 18+ to address social, emotional and practical needs by connecting them to sources of
support within their community to improve their health and wellbeing, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. This
support is ongoing throughout COVID-19.

During Covid-19, the Connect Well service was launched to provide support online and remotely, offering socially distanced visits and
classes where appropriate, making sure clients felt connected and supported.
Each Social Prescriber contacts each and every client by telephone, text or video link every week. As restrictions begin to ease in this
phase of lockdown, a small number have carried out socially distanced garden visits or walking groups.

  • There are 34 SPRING Social Prescribers working across Scotland and Northern Ireland, serving 28 communities in socially deprived areas.
  • There are 15 Social Prescribers working in 10 areas across Scotland.
  • GPs and Primary Health Care professionals can refer clients to SPRING
  • Social Prescribing. Referrals to the programme are open and SPRING
  • Social Prescribers are on-hand to provide much needed help and support throughout this challenging time.

The Challenge

As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, SPRING Social Prescribers in Scotland have noted an increased reliance on their services for emotional and mental wellbeing support.
The challenge is to deliver programmes of support, dealing with issues of social isolation, loneliness and anxiety in a socially distanced and accessible way for all clients. The following case studies exemplify the impact of the pandemic on mental, emotional and physical health on people of all ages and the amazing work of Social Prescribing to support people throughout.

The Solution

SPRING Social Prescribing has adapted the service to provide remote support in the Connect Well service. Social Prescribers continue to provide support to clients, helping to alleviate the impact of social isolation, ill-health, food poverty and overcoming barriers to support services in communities throughout Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Using Elemental, SPRING Social Prescribers across the Scottish Communities for Health and Wellbeing and Healthy Living Centre Alliance receive referrals to their programmes and services from GP practices, reducing avoidable appointments, cutting waiting times and supporting individuals to take greater control of their own health and wellbeing.

Since I started seeing my CBT therapist my head is clearer and I can start thinking about the future. I really enjoy my café work and it has given me the confidence to apply for a part-time job. I feel more positive about my life now.

Michael’s Story

Michael, a 23-year-old man living in a small rural village in South Lanarkshire in Scotland, was referred to SPRING Social Prescribing at Heathy Valleys by his GP. Michael lives with his mother in a small isolated community with poor transport links. He has been unemployed since leaving school, with the exception of seasonal work at a nearby motorway service station. He kept in touch with a small group of school friends via social media but did not see them socially. In January, with the help and support of his Social Prescriber, Michael was taking part in weekly CBT sessions and was referred to a local employment training charity where he volunteered in the on-site café. He had started to feel optimistic about his future and confident about applying for work.

The lockdown measures have exacerbated Michael’s symptoms and he has been prescribed stronger anti-depressants by his GP. Michael has continued to be supported by Healthy Valleys Listening Ear service, receiving weekly support calls which he says have helped him cope with the “COVID-coaster” feelings he has been experiencing: “Each telephone call reinforces how I need to change my thinking from; Oh no! Not another day like yesterday to; I’m looking forward to getting out in the sun for a walk with my dog. I’m feeling more in control of my moods and more optimistic.” Michael has also been connected with stress control and mindfulness classes online to help him better manage his mental health.

Getting Better Together Project

 

At Getting Better Together, Shott Healthy Living Centre in North Lanarkshire, they have adapted services to include online coffee mornings and online meet and greets, virtual challenges such as the Land’s End to John O’Groats walking challenge and, like all Healthy Living centres, are involved in the delivery of the community response to Covid-19 and the transport and delivery of Covid-19 swabs at two local hospitals.

Sharon’s Story

Sharon was referred to the SPRING Social Prescribing programme by her Psychiatrist. She met with Debra, her SPRING Social Prescriber, who listened to her wants and needs. She encouraged Sharon to join a meditation group and accompanied her on her first session: “For the first time, in a long time, I was put in a social situation on my own – not only did I cope, I had a great time.”

Sharon fell ill with Coronavirus and was forced to socially isolate from her wife, who is a nurse. The couple were apart for three weeks. During this time, Debra, Sharon’s Social Prescriber maintained regular contact and was a great source of support and practical help during Sharon’s recovery. Debra and Sharon are now going on socially distanced walks together and Sharon is looking forward to getting back to the meditation group, with whom she has maintained contact and made friends.

She is looking forward to getting back to a group setting. “I hope we will be coming out of this soon – so I can get back to the mediation group. I’ve been keeping in contact with other members of the group.”

It has been fantastic meeting folk and making friends. It’s just been an absolute life saver for me.

You can watch more of Sharon’s social prescribing journey with SPRING here.

Outcomes

2,960 people have been referred to SPRING Social prescribing from January 2019 to June 2020. 85% of those who completed the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale assessment reported an improvement in health and wellbeing.

In direct response to the mental and emotional strain of Covid-19 restrictions, the team at SPRING Social Prescribing provided “Connect Well” online workshops. It was a free weekly workshop available to anyone over 18 years and delivered via Zoom. The classes ran from May to September and a total of 668 people took part.

1,895 people received support from March to July, 2020 with 20% of clients availing of online classes.

A further 11% of clients with no digital access received isolation packs which contained educational information and exercise packs.

Digital disparity is an ongoing challenge. Providing technology and digital training to people with digital disparity, is an important step to improving health and wellbeing and keeping people connected as restrictions continue.

Elemental has streamlined referrals from GPs and health care professionals and enabled SPRING to monitor data and outcomes of clients throughout the pandemic.

To find out more about SPRING Social Prescribing go to www.springsp.org

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Jennifer and Leeann

Someone’s health and wellbeing can be affected by where they live, what they do for a living, their income or their early childhood background experiences. This in turn leads to some stark, and often avoidable health differences.

We founded Elemental to play an active part in halting health inequalities through the social prescribing movement. Our technology helps communities to be better connected, build resilience and bring real precision to the measurement of the impact of community investment.

We work with organisations that want to continue to invest in their communities but want to be much better at measuring impact and outcomes.

We believe this is a powerful route out of health inequality.

CEO & Co-Founder, Jennifer Neff
COO & Co-Founder, Leeann Monk-Ozgul

Jennifer and Leeann

A message from our founders