As part of the UK’s National Health Service’s (NHS) ‘social prescribing’ scheme, young people will now be prescribed dancing, surfing, roller skating, and gardening, to see whether taking part in sport, the arts, or outdoor activities could reduce anxious and depressive feelings. The NHS will first offer these activities to 600 11-18-year-olds, in 10 parts of England, who are on their waiting lists for care. The trial is being run by academics from University College London, and those involved will be able to take part in music, sport and exercise and attend youth clubs. Each young person will be able to choose which activity they want to try, with the help of a ‘buddy’ or link worker. If the trial proves successful and participants feel less anxious, depressed and lonely, the scheme could be rolled out across England to help thousands of youth who are on the waiting list for formal care. Previously, this kind of program has only been tested on a very small scale, but participants did report a boost to their mental wellbeing, and a reduction in loneliness.

Read Full Story