This month, the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts released its findings from Phase I of the Social Prescription Pilot Program, which launched in January 2020 in Springfield and Berkshire County.
As part of the CultureRx Initiative, this pilot program focused on building a cohort of cultural organizations to work with professional care providers to positively affect the health and well-being of the people of their community. One health clinic participated in giving referrals (social prescriptions) by doctors to cultural organizations for specific health reasons such as social isolation, depression, and hypertension.
Although the pandemic cut the pilot short, the program showed promise in improving well-being and reducing social isolation. With this in mind, MHAC encourages age-and dementia friendly communities to consider local arts and cultural stakeholders and opportunities as part of their efforts.
The programs mentioned in the full report included a Memory Cafe in Holyoke and an intergenerational program based at Treehouse Community in Easthampton (see page 23 of the report here).