Social Prescribing: Healing Through STEPN (Part 1)

STEPN Official
3 min readJun 5, 2023

The world of healthcare is vast and complex, continually evolving to meet the needs of an ever-changing population. As the landscape shifts, new paradigms emerge, and one of the most compelling among them is social prescribing.

We’ve recently seen instances of doctors prescribing STEPN for patients (see tweet below) and we couldn’t be more excited.

In our new two-part series, “Social Prescribing: Healing Through STEPN,” we’ll delve deep into this approach and how this new paradigm could be used to revolutionise how we view preventive care as well as treatment.

Today, we’ll start by unpacking what social prescribing is and how it can impact our overall health.

Next up, we’ll cover how it goes even further beyond physical health, and how it could help combat the growing mental health crisis. Strap in, and let’s begin our exploration!

About social prescribing

Social prescribing was originally conceived in the UK in the 1990s. Doctors were increasingly recognising that a significant portion of their patients’ wellbeing was tied not only to their physical health but to their social circumstances as well.

Their offices were filled with individuals seeking help for problems that medicine alone couldn’t address — loneliness, stress, anxiety, and the impacts of living in socio-economically deprived conditions.

In response, pioneering healthcare professionals began to look outside the traditional boundaries of medicine. Their aim was to find ways to support their patients’ health and wellbeing beyond prescribing pills or treatments. This notion paved the way for social prescribing.

So, what exactly is social prescribing? It’s a non-medical approach to health and wellbeing that involves connecting patients to local community services and activities. This could include anything from referring patients to a gardening club, to engaging in art or music therapy sessions — or using STEPN to develop a healthy exercise habit!

Examples of social prescribing

The beauty of social prescribing lies in its simplicity and its focus on holistic health. It recognises that our wellbeing is influenced by a multitude of factors, many of which lie outside the domain of traditional medicine.

By helping individuals tap into the resources and activities in their communities, social prescribing seeks to address these social determinants of health, ultimately aiming to improve overall wellbeing, reduce loneliness, and alleviate pressure on health services.

There’s a growing amount of people supporting the growth of this movement. For example, National Park Prescriptions, or ParkRx, encourages healthcare providers to prescribe time in nature to improve patients’ health and well-being, leveraging the positive impact nature has on our mental health.

Similarly, there are now formal schemes like the NHS’s Exercise Referral in the UK and ‘Prescription to Get Active’ in Canada, where health professionals prescribe physical activity as part of a comprehensive health strategy.

Closing thoughts

As we look towards the future of healthcare, the importance of social prescribing becomes increasingly apparent. Studies indicate a worrying trend: despite advances in medical technology, our physical health as a society is deteriorating. Sedentary lifestyles are becoming the norm, with the World Health Organization indicating that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally.

STEPN and social prescribing could represent a beacon of hope. By gamifying physical activity and promoting healthier lifestyles by encouraging users to walk more, STEPN fosters motivation and a sense of achievement, aligning perfectly with the principles of social prescribing.

Sometimes, the simplest actions, like taking a walk, can make the most significant impact on our health.



STEPN Official

STEPN is a Web3 lifestyle app with Social and Game elements.