14/03/2024 - Permalink

Blog from our partners: Social Prescribing Day in the county

Related topics: Adult social care / Health / Partner organisations

Blog from our partners NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin / Integrated Care System

Today the impact of social prescribers, community groups and the organisations that support their work is being recognised as part of the national Social Prescribing Day (Thursday 14 March 2024), an annual celebration of the effect social prescribing can have on people’s health and wellbeing.

Many things that affect our health can’t be fixed by a medical prescription. Factors such as stress, unemployment, debt, loneliness, lack of education and support in early childhood, insecure housing and discrimination can all affect our health. Talking to a social prescriber, identifying problems, and making plans to change the circumstances that are affecting a person’s health can make a real difference.

Kirsty Jarman, a social prescriber working in Shropshire, has proudly shared below some great insight into her role this Social Prescribing Day, and how this particular healthcare profession can help people who are facing difficult problems.

Kirsty Jarman

Kirsty Jarman

In a nutshell, social prescribers are professionals who support people to become happier, healthier versions of themselves. In my day-to-day-job, I help people to organise their thoughts and problems into manageable, bitesize chunks, and tackle them by priority.

I provide a non-judgmental, safe space for people to be vulnerable and get the help they need for problems they are finding difficult. As I like to say to the people I work with, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.

I find that most people already know what they could do to help with their problems, such as trying to stop smoking or to eat healthier. My work helps people to become more aware of their own responsibilities to their health needs and be able to move forward in knowing what changes need to be made and to be more aware of choices they make for themselves.

One of the best things about an appointment with a social prescriber is that they are longer than the typical 10-minute GP appointment. We also offer ongoing support for people for up to three months, which helps us to get to the root causes of people’s problems and address them effectively.

For example, a person may come to me for help with weight loss, but I may notice there is a mental health reason behind why they are eating in a certain way. If we can work on the root cause, I can signpost to the most appropriate support and activities. It also isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ service, and they can come back to us at any time for more support.

The extra appointment time and ongoing support is also beneficial when I’m working with people with additional learning needs, anxiety or depression, as I can hold their hand whilst doing things such as referral forms and offer additional support to help them take those important first steps.

I see people from all kinds of backgrounds, facing a wide range of problems, from weight loss to money issues, to those experiencing loneliness or a bereavement and wanting someone to talk to. Every appointment is different and based around what the person needs, what is important to them and what support they might already have in place. All of our work is person-centred, and the person is at the heart of what we do. In Shropshire, there is also a social prescribing service for children and young people (aged between 11–18 years old) where they can get similar support.

The great thing about social prescribing is that there are many ways to get an appointment. A person can self-refer or ask any member of staff at their GP practice for a referral. In Shropshire, organisations and services, such as the fire and police services, can also refer people to us. For children and young people, their schools can make referrals.

Our connections to a wide range of organisations across the area, such as citizen’s advice, community connectors and the council are also invaluable. I’m able to make referrals and signpost people into those places for specialist support.

My job is incredibly rewarding, and to know that I’ve supported someone to make a positive difference to their life is an amazing feeling. I would encourage anyone wanting to find help for difficult problems to find out more.


In Shropshire, people can self-refer by phoning 0345 678 9028 or emailing healthylives@shropshire.gov.uk with the subject line ‘social prescribing self-referral’.

People can also get help by asking any member of staff at their GP practice for a referral. Referrals can be made by other services, such as the police service, fire service, or other NHS services (eg weight management). Click here for more information on Shropshire’s social prescribing services.

In Telford and Wrekin, Telford Mind and Teldoc both provide social prescribing services. People can also ask for a social prescribing referral from any member of staff at their GP practice.

Click here for more information on Telford Mind’s social prescribing services.

Click here for more information of Teldoc’s social prescribing services.

For more information on extended healthcare teams, visit the NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin website.