World Mental Health Day: Social prescribing helps Tyneside carer's panic attacks and sleeplessness

Video report by Katie Cole

A carer from North Tyneside says social prescribing has helped her struggle with panic attacks and sleeplessness.

Debbie Reed, who cares for her dad Bob, was put on a social prescribing programme through her GP when her mental health hit rock bottom.

She joined an online journaling class with North Shields-based Helix Arts which gave her support and friendship that helped transform her life.

"There's no judgement in the group," said Debbie. "I've loved every minute of it. I feel so different. I'm so much happier, and more confident and relaxed."

Social prescribing involves being referred to a non medical support service like an art club or sport group.

Debbie Reed is a carer for her father Bob, left

Debbie now volunteers for the charity by helping to run online courses.

Cheryl Gavin, director of Helix Arts, said demand went up for support services like theirs during the pandemic.

She added: "We saw people's livelihoods go, people were parenting alone. We saw carers' mental health and physical health plummet.

"I think finding new ways of being yourself and understanding what you're going through is really important after covid when you just feels there's a sense of loss and grief."