We’ve been busy meeting with professionals in the Healthcare, Voluntary, Creative and Corporate Sectors ensuring that we make the most of what Greater Manchester can offer but also to help define our Vision and strategy to make sure we have the strongest foundations possible to create social change and improve mental well-being across the Region.
There’s been some really interesting revelations along the way and we’ve realised that what we initially thought was a simple premise was being discussed by professionals in the NHS, in Government and in the Arts. There are lots of proposals and aspirations relating to Social Prescribing and ensuring that Mental Health is given the same importance as Physical Health but we want to ensure that it leads to real change and benefits those people in our most vulnerable communities.
Social Prescribing is a way that GP’s and other healthcare professionals can link people into community based groups and organisations that can benefit that persons condition by getting them involved in recreational and creative activities. In a very simple way this could be referring someone to an art class to help them overcome anxiety or depression, likewise it could be putting someone who is overweight into a local swimming club or other physical activity. Obviously that’s a very basic view and we all understand that many people are struggling with very complex problems and the resulting solution may be made up of a blend of medication, continuing medical support plus the referral to creative community activity.
This all sounds amazing and it is a central theme of the MancSpirit vision to inspire positive mental well-being through access to the Arts and creative activity but we still have our reservations. If Social Prescribing is simply going to mean that people will be leaving their GP with a handful of leaflets and a cheerful wave then that’s not going to be good enough. People need support to attend for the first time, they may need additional equipment or materials and they will need further support along the way.
Therefore we’ve taken it upon ourselves to make sure that Social Prescribing is delivered to Greater Manchester people in the most effective way and the discussions we’ve had already are very promising. It’s early days yet but we’re confident that a strong partnership between ourselves, healthcare professionals and other voluntary sector groups across Greater Manchester will be rewarding and we’ll make sure that the provision is available and accessible right across the Region.
From Aston to Wigan, from Oldham to Bury – MancSpirit is campaigning that everyone has access to the best creative solutions possible. If it isn’t already available, we’ll work with Communities to create it.