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UK allocates over £3.6 m for improving mental health
The UK earmarked more than £3.6 million of the government funding to the National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP) to support mental health and wellbeing, including impacts of loneliness.
Thousands of people will continue to access innovative types of mental health support, proven to improve healthy living, reduce overprescribing and save capacity for GPs.
Social prescribing can help those experiencing grief, addiction, dementia and loneliness through a wide range of community-led social activities, services and opportunities that have proven benefits to people’s health and wellbeing.
This could include gardening clubs for people to socialize and learn new skills, new exercise classes to build confidence and become healthier, as well as financial advice for people with money worries, among many other initiatives.
The grant will support NASP to build on its previous successes such as the Thriving Communities Fund, which has established 36 projects helping more than 10,000 people and championing local community and voluntary groups.
It has also introduced an academic collaboration to develop a robust evidence base for social prescribing and the benefits it can bring to the nation’s health. It will continue to build innovative partnerships between the health system and the voluntary sector to ensure that social prescribing reaches those most in need.
With Christmas approaching and many people feeling the negative impacts of loneliness over the festive period, social prescribing provides people with the tools to help manage their mental health and meet others in their community.
Minister of State for Social Care, Helen Whatley, said “Social prescribing is an unsung hero in getting thousands of people the support they need to get through hard times – whether it be low self-esteem, dementia or loneliness.”
“I’m really pleased that we’ve agreed new funding for the National Academy of Social Prescribing, so it can continue the valuable work it does day in and day out to support the health of the country.”
Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, said “with many people struggling with their mental health and loneliness, particularly over the festive period, social prescribing offers a proven innovative approach to support their wellbeing.”
Mental health is a priority and it’s vital people have access to the tools and support they need – this funding will provide much-needed help to people with a wide range of needs, as well as easing pressure on GPs and freeing up appointments.
In 2019, the government set out a manifesto commitment to extend social prescribing and expand the NASP.