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The happiness prescription

GPs are recognising that at least half their patients need more than a pill for every ill. For Arabella Tresilian, singing in a choir was life-changing. Sarah Stacey tells her inspiring story

Listening to the lightness and warmth in her voice, it’s hard to believe Arabella Tresilian has experienced such serious mental health problems that she once feared she was not well enough to look after her two young children. Treatment, a combination of medication and talking therapies, certainly helped but, what finally transformed Arabella’s life was singing in a choir, a panacea enabled by the social prescribing initiative at her GP’s practice in Bath. General practitioner Michael Dixon describes social prescribing as ‘a radical rethink of medicine, planting health and healing in the heart of the community’.

Hobbies, connection and wellbeing

Social prescribing aims to improve patients’ health holistically by referrals to link workers who spend time with them exploring non-medical interventions, often provided by voluntary or charity organisations based in the local community. Activities might include music, art, sports, dancing, knitting, walking, group learning, yoga, fishing and cooking, among others. Link workers may also help patients address housing, legal and financial problems.

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