A groundbreaking trial in England is prescribing activities such as surfing, rollerskating, and dancing to young people experiencing depression and anxiety.
A seminal mental health trial has been launched across England that prescribes activities such as surfing, rollerskating, dancing, and more.
To ease the pressure on the UK’s mental health services, the trial aims to see if participating in sports, the arts, and outdoor activities can help young people feel less anxious and depressed.
If it proves successful, so-called ‘social prescribing’ could change the game for mental health treatment. Keep reading to find out more about this unconventional treatment method.
Changing the landscape of mental health services ‒ social interaction and activities
Dr Daisy Fancourt is the UCL mental health expert running the trial. Speaking to The Guardian about the landmark trial, she said, “Young people’s mental health is one of the greatest challenges facing the NHS.
“Currently, many young people referred to child and adolescent mental health services face long waits, during which time more than three-quarters experience a deterioration in their mental health.
“Social prescribing has the potential to support young people while they wait by providing access to a range of creative and social activities that could enhance their confidence, self-esteem, and social support networks.”
Mental health trial prescribes surfing, rollerskating, and dancing ‒ unconventional methods
Currently, mental health waiting lists in England range from six to 18 weeks. Unfortunately for those struggling, these waiting times can prove much too long.
To support those young people struggling with conditions such as anxiety and depression while they wait for treatment, the new mental health trial prescribes surfing, rollerskating, and dancing to see if they have any positive effects.
The trial will be carried out by NHS mental health trusts across England. During this period, 600 young people aged between 11 and 18 currently on the waiting lists for care will have the chance to participate in various social activities to see if they have any positive effects.
The study will look at how much young people take part, the costs involved, and the feasibility of making these activities available.
Not the first time this has been done ‒ following on from a smaller, successful trial
The new mental health trial prescribes surfing, rollerskating, dancing, and other activities to young people experiencing anxiety and depression. However, this is not the first time something like this has been done.
From 2018 to 2020, a smaller-scale trial was carried out in Luton, Sheffield, and Brighton and Hove. The government-funded trial found that involvement in social activities improved young people’s mental well-being and reduced loneliness.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also advocates exercising, socialising, and spending time outdoors for their incredible mental health benefits.
So, if the new mental health trial that prescribes activities such as surfing, rollerskating, and dancing proves a success, it could change the game for mental health services forever.