A woman smiles across a desk at a mother and babe in arms against a backdrop of library bookshelves

Libraries are invited to participate in the Victorian Social Prescribing Survey. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion Office, as part of the Victorian Department of Health, has funded the Australian Disease Management Association (ADMA) to develop the survey and deliver a report on the findings. This survey aims to build a baseline understanding of the social prescribing activities offered throughout Victoria. By participating in this survey, it will allow the Office to identify any past, present and future work planned in social prescribing.

Please complete the survey by 6 February 2023. We strongly encourage you to circulate to your own networks to ensure everyone’s views and opinions will be expressed.

To access the survey, please click on this link.

What is social prescribing?

While social prescribing is an considered an emerging service offering in Victoria, Social Prescribing has been described in the following ways:

  • Social prescribing is a process enabling GPs, nurses and other health professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services to improve their physical, mental, social and/or spiritual health and wellbeing outcomes. Most programs involve a link worker or navigator who works with people to access suitable activities and support. People may, for example, be referred to exercise classes or group activities to help increase their social connections. Modified from Neighbourhood Houses Victoria
  • Social prescribing is a means of connecting people to a range of non-clinical services in the community to improve their health and well-being. Modified from WHO Social Prescribing Toolkit.
  • Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers. Social prescribing links them to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports. Modified from National Academy for Social Prescribing UK

A growing number of social prescribing services and related activities are available across Victoria. It is being recognised, including by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, as a powerful tool in improving people’s health and wellbeing outcomes.

The survey is open to any service or organisation from a range of sectors, who are:

  • currently providing,
  • planning on providing,
  • previously provided or
  • interested in providing

a social prescribing service OR activity that facilitates social connection.

The survey seeks to gain a baseline understanding of social prescribing activity with a view towards identifying current, past and future work, potential enablers, barriers, and needs across Victoria.

A range of stakeholders are invited to contribute to this survey including health care services, mental health, community health, Neighbourhood Houses or community centres, councils, libraries, not for profit groups and more. The survey report will be available in 2023.

Additional information

The survey has been developed by ADMA with input from the Department of Health, Primary Health Networks, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, the RACGP Special Interest Group, Municipal Association of Victoria, Dr Michelle Lim, Sian Slade and a number of established social prescribing programs.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion Office, as part of the Victorian Department of Health, is establishing social prescribing trials in the first six Local Adult and Older Adult Mental Health and Wellbeing Services. Thus work is part of Recommendation 15 of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact any member of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion Office Programs Team via MHWPO@health.vic.gov.au

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