Support for social issues: HSJ Winner

Posted on 25th April, 2016

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An innovative initiative helping primary care patients access support for social problems has produced improvements in mental health and won Health Service Journal's Award for Primary Care Innovation 2015.

With life expectancy for men and women in Halton, Cheshire, below the national average, and the borough’s population living a greater proportion of their lives with a health problem, Halton Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned Wellbeing Enterprises to run a Community Wellbeing Practices initiative to integrate approaches from all 17 GP practices in the borough.

The scheme aimed to help patients in primary care access support to address the social problems in their lives.

A comprehensive range of psychosocial support programmes have been developed, with health promotion principles at their core. A team of dedicated community wellbeing officers provide training and support enabling practitioners to identify and respond to the psychosocial needs of patients. Wellbeing reviews aim to get to the root cause of a patient’s social problems and understand a patient’s skills and capabilities. And support includes a mindfulness programme, community resilience and confidence events, and community wellbeing projects.  

More than two-thirds of participants in the initiative showed an improvement on the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.  

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