This project will offer an analysis of how male service users experience a rapidly growing community intervention referred to as social prescribing. Men, on average, account for 75% of all suicides, die four years earlier than women, and represent 63% of all detainments under the Mental Health Act. Moreover, by some measures, men make visits to their GP’s on average a third less than women and often find it challenging to seek help for health related issues.
According to recent evidence, some men report being more comfortable using community facing or “informal” forms of health provision that allow men to seek help for health related issues without compromising some of the values associated with masculine norms of independence. This represents a significant opportunity for social prescribing, a community-based intervention that, through joining primary care networks to community assets, helps service users connect with community resources.
This work will look to understand men’s experiences of social prescribing, focusing on what components and experiences are most “meaningful” to them throughout the social prescribing pathway. The work, mainly informed by qualitative methods, will offer a nuanced insight into the “lived experience” of men who have engaged with social prescribing.
This project takes seriously the insights of recent major evidence on the worsening of certain measures of health inequalities and will look to ascertain the hope for social prescribing in delivering better outcomes on equitable access to the social determinants of health and wellbeing. The project will, in part, look to meet the recent claim for an “urgent” connection between the primary literature on social prescribing and theory pertaining to the explanation and understanding of health inequalities and the social determinants of health in the UK.