Global developments in social prescribing

BMJ Glob Health. 2022 May;7(5):e008524. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2022-008524.


Social prescribing is an approach that aims to improve health and well-being. It connects individuals to non-clinical services and supports that address social needs, such as those related to loneliness, housing instability and mental health. At the person level, social prescribing can give individuals the knowledge, skills, motivation and confidence to manage their own health and well-being. At the society level, it can facilitate greater collaboration across health, social, and community sectors to promote integrated care and move beyond the traditional biomedical model of health. While the term social prescribing was first popularised in the UK, this practice has become more prevalent and widely publicised internationally over the last decade. This paper aims to illuminate the ways social prescribing has been conceptualised and implemented across 17 countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. We draw from the 'Beyond the Building Blocks' framework to describe the essential inputs for adopting social prescribing into policy and practice, related to service delivery; social determinants and household production of health; workforce; leadership and governance; financing, community organisations and societal partnerships; health technology; and information, learning and accountability. Cross-cutting lessons can inform country and regional efforts to tailor social prescribing models to best support local needs.

Keywords: health education and promotion; health policy; health systems; public Health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Mental Health*
  • North America