Cycling and Walking ‘on prescription’ in the West Midlands

Healthcare professionals are piloting a scheme which will ‘prescribe’ outdoor activities for some people with poor mental health and other conditions.

The Active Black Country project will run in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton and is part of West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) campaign to encourage the region’s residents to walk and cycle more following the pandemic.

Described as ‘social prescribing’ a group of patients in each of the four regions will be signposted to activities such as walking and cycling to help ease loneliness, isolation, mental health conditions and complex social needs that affect their wellbeing.

A four-week pilot has already started in Dudley and Sandwell and will be replicated in Wolverhampton and Walsall during August and September. Active Black Country and social prescribing experts will be supporting health care professionals at four primary care networks, Dudley & Netherton, Citrus (Sandwell), Walsall West One and Wolverhampton Total Health to roll out the pilot which will help 40 people.

Patients will be given a guide on walking and cycling including the locations of the parks and green open spaces available to them. They will also receive advice and guidance about the health-related benefits of being active and follow-up consultations will be conducted to gauge the impact.

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