For most people, how they spend their time in the day is important to their socialisation, self-esteem and financial situation and a core focus of mental health care planning.
Meaningful activity includes work but can involve other activities such as hobbies, social activities with family and friends, exercise, sport and other leisure activities, as well as more structured activities including educational and vocational courses. Some of these activities can be provided at day centres, but increasingly, mental health services make links with mainstream community resources to develop collaborative approaches to support service users to access courses (e.g. colleges) and other community facilities (e.g. gyms).
Social prescribing is a mechanism for linking patients with non-medical sources of support within the community. These might include opportunities for arts and creativity, physical activity, learning new skills, volunteering, mutual aid, befriending and self-help, as well as support with, for example, employment, benefits, housing, debt, legal advice, or parenting problems. Social prescribing is usually delivered via primary care – for example, through ‘exercise on prescription’ or ‘prescription for learning’ or ‘books on prescription’34, although there is a range of different models and referral options35