Rideau Community Health Services is proud to announce that we've been awarded a grant to begin a social prescribing program through the Alliance for Healthier Communities! On March 3rd, the Government of Canada formally announced a commitment of 4 million dollars which will support 28 Community Health Centres and Family Health Teams across Ontario with the training and support they need to begin implementing social prescribing and enhance the availability of community-based mental health promotion programs. Read more about the funding announcement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2023/03/government-of-canada-invests-nearly-4-million-in-the-alliance-for-healthier-communities-to-promote-mental-health.html

Social Prescribing is a holistic approach to healthcare that brings together the social and medical models of health and wellness. It provides a formal pathway for health providers to address the diverse determinants of health, using the familiar and trusted process of writing a prescription.

Social prescribing bridges the gap between clinical and social care by referring patients to local, non-clinical services that are chosen according to the client’s interests, goals, and gifts. It allows doctors, nurse practitioners, and interprofessional health providers to formally refer patients through to community-based programs. It empowers clients to improve their health by developing new skills participating in meaningful activities and becoming more connected to their communities. What does a social prescription look like? It could be participating in an exercise group, taking an art or dance class, joining a bereavement network, getting one’s hands dirty in a community garden, exploring a local hiking trail with a group of peers, volunteering to visit older adults in the communities and much more.

Health equity is a cornerstone of effective social prescribing. It is not enough to simply refer a client to a recreational program or encourage them to visit an art gallery. Successfully implementing a social prescribing program means removing the barriers clients experience to doing these things. These barriers may be economic, geographical, interpersonal, or psychological. Social prescribing is about listening deeply, providing necessary supports, and empowering people to be co-creators in improving their own health and wellbeing.

Are you interested in learning more about social prescribing? Contact our Community Health Worker Joanne Franey at 613-269-3400 ext 247