Non-clinical forms of community support can have a huge benefit on people’s health and wellbeing. 

There is no silver bullet to mental health.

Medication and talking therapies are traditional first lines of support. These treatments can be effective but do not suit many young people.

In any case, a large proportion of young people fail to meet the threshold to be seen by CYMHS, have to wait months for an appointment or fail to engage with the treatment on offer.  

This creates an opportunity for an alternative approach.

Most mental health conditions are caused by social and environmental factors. It makes sense that support that embraces holistic, social approaches should play a part in the solution.

These approaches are known as social prescriptions.

Social prescribing is about getting people to discover or rediscover a sense of joy and purpose and help them reconnect with life affirming activities, the community and ultimately themselves.

These non-medical forms of community support give young people the time and space to explore their emotions in a non-clinical environment while their mind is on other things.

For many young people, accessing these forms of support is less daunting than the sometimes uncomfortable setting of a therapy room.

Social prescribing is one of the key components of the NHS Comprehensive Model of Personalised Care and is a mechanism for delivering personalised care and community-based support in the NHS Long Term Plan.

NHS England is committed to building the infrastructure for social prescribing across the primary care sector by investing in link workers who signpost people to other community, social or charitable organisations in their area.

For this to work, voluntary organisations need the capability to support the social prescribing provision but as yet there is no plan as to how this should happen.

The social prescribing model in the UK is more developed for adults than children but still immature. 


We support charities with a proven track record of delivering innovative programmes to help young people experiencing poor mental health.