Mind Cymru celebrates social prescribing project in fight against Covid-19 impact

A Cardiff mental health charity is raising awareness of the successful techniques used to help people in need this winter

Two women smile as they talk to each other at a table
Mind Cymru’s link workers dedicate their time to provide one-to-ones with those in need. (Image credit: Mind Cymru)

The Cardiff-based mental health charity Mind Cymru is hosting a virtual event on 18 November 2021 to celebrate the positive impacts of its social prescribing project.

As part of the Together for Mental Health strategy, Mind Cymru has worked with the Welsh government over the last three years to trial the impacts of social prescribing.

Mind Cymru’s senior media officer Luke Merlini outlines social prescribing as a way to refer people struggling with mental health issues to non-clinical services within their community. By working collaboratively with a personal link worker, patients can address their individual needs on a one-to-one basis.

“The project was funded by the Welsh government and has supported more than 2,000 people across Wales,” explains Luke.

A diagram to show the process of social prescribing and its positive outcomes
Prioritising sustainability within the community, the social prescribing process adapted well during lockdown. (Image credit: Abby Allen)

Despite having to move its services online during the Covid-19 outbreak, Mind Cymru managed to maintain communication between link workers and patients over the phone and has now successfully moved back to face-to-face help.

In a report generated in collaboration with the University of South Wales’ Welsh Institute of Health and Social Care, it concluded that social prescribing adapted well under the pressures of Covid-19 because there was more flexibility and capacity of services being virtually offered.

Explaining that 63% of people found their mental health got worse during the pandemic, Luke admits, “We will be seeing the mental health consequences of the pandemic for a long time to come.”

However, he remains optimistic about the future of Welsh mental health in light of the social prescribing project, especially as it continues to successfully offer people access to a range of tailored support networks.

Despite concerns that Wales faces a spike in cases this winter, Luke assures, “We may need to revert back to offering support virtually for a time, but we will always be fighting to help people who need us.”

Mind Cymru’s social media officer, Luke Merlini, offers top pointers on what a social prescribing link worker can offer:
  • Online activities such as online counselling
  • Housing, benefits and financial support and advice
  • Practical help with shopping and prescriptions
  • Peer support from others who have similar experiences