"Social prescribing" is a means for tackling poor health without, or alongside, prescribing pharmaceutical drugs. Schemes for social prescribing cover a wide array of activities and programmes, ranging from physical activities such as dance classes through culture programmes and volunteering. As research proves that volunteering has a positive impact on mental health, volunteering has become an efficient and increasingly popular way of addressing health and well-being concerns and a part of social prescribing schemes. Participating in volunteering activities in the framework of social prescribing is especially beneficial for patients with mental health issues, and/or suffer from loneliness and isolation, perhaps caused by physical illnesses or other social issues.
In this e-Volunteerism feature, author Gabriella Civico explains how volunteering is an important part of social prescribing schemes for patients. “Social prescribing leads to patients requiring less on-going support and enables them to contribute to an important cause, often continuing to support it even after the prescribed period ends,” she writes. “In this way, social prescribing has a positive impact on society as well as the patients.”