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Louise finds that Social Prescribing reduces her drinking AND smoking

Louise struggles daily with an alcohol addiction. She tries to keep her battle private, but over the years her addictions have gradually overtaken and coloured most of her life. Her work has become spasmodic and her contact with friends and family was diminishing. Louise’s GP suggested that social prescribing might help and asked if she might like to get involved in some local groups and activities to rebuild her social capital and support networks.

Louise was then introduced to the practice Primary Care Nurse, Lilly, and Louise discussed her desire to get motivated to get out and start moving more. Lilly thought that a walking group might help Louise stick with these new goals. As their connection grew, Louise felt comfortable enough to confide in Lilly that she would also like to talk to a psychologist and asked whether she could help her. Lilly worked with Louise and took her through the Kaleidoscope surveys on chronic mental health, loneliness, and chronic health conditions (Kaleidoscope is an application that supports community members to develop a social care plan in partnership with their healthcare professional).

After pondering what they discovered together, they evaluated the options available on Kaleidoscope. Lilly and Louise uncovered a great psychologist at a local Women’s Health Centre who offered free appointments with a mental health care plan. Louise felt safe and comforted being in an environment at the Women’s Health Care Centre. She was able to be herself and was ready to make some significant changes.

Louise felt that her life had a plan for the first time in years – she was beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. She was working on her mental health with her psychologist regularly and she decided to start a language class. Usually something well outside her comfort zone, Louise felt emboldened to do something different. She was developing confidence.

As Louise’s health improved, her alcohol intake dropped. She found that she didn’t smoke as much either. Surprisingly, Louise’s smoking stopped altogether not long after she started attending the walking group that she and Lilly found through Kaleidoscope.

The walking group has provided Louise with a great social outlet that helped her mental health on many fronts. Not only has her outlook improved, but her physical health has too. She looks healthy which has helped with her confidence. With these areas of her life feeling more in control, Louise found her interest in work starting to return. Her employers even noticed an air of positivity they had not seen in years.

Louise is now working with Lilly to help her with a housing transfer, and she has continued her walking group and language class. Louise said her dream would be to travel to Italy one day to put her language skills to use!

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