The Rise of Social Prescriptions

Thank you to my friend Kim for sending me the link to an article in the Toronto Star written by Jason Miller entitled “Doctors can now prescribe a visit to the ROM(Royal Ontario Museum) through a new initiative to combat anxiety and loneliness.” Eleven participating community health centers in Ontario are part of a pilot program designed to prescribe social and artistic solutions to those struggling with mental illness.  Everything from singing lessons to yoga, knitting, visits to the ROM, T’ai Chi, and fishing lessons have been prescribed, with no costs to the patient to participate.

Kate Mulligan, director of policy and communications for the Alliance for Healthier Communities states, “One of the things they’re trying to promote is a sense of belonging and empowering people to participate. It might be that the physician or nurse practitioner sees that you’ve been coming in 10 times and a medical solution is not readily available for what’s bothering you.” Among the most common complaints Mulligan states, is loneliness.

By individualizing treatment through social prescriptions, people have the potential to encourage their creativity, build sustainable connections to others, and feel validated in their struggle; all the while creating less of a tax burden in the long run on our health care system. Sounds pretty cool to me.

To read the full article:

Photo credit: http://Photo by Rima Kruciene on Unsplash

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