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A Crisis of Isolation and Loneliness – And What We’re Doing About It

July 18, 2019

Wasaga Beach, Ontario – July 18, 2019 – The recent release of A portrait of social isolation and loneliness in Canada today by Angus Reid and Cardus shows that nearly a quarter of Canadians are very lonely and/or very isolated, which are strongly correlated with poorer health. What if, along with medication, doctors could prescribe social connectedness, community inclusion, and belonging? We are doing just that at the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre (SGBCHC) through social prescribing.

The SGBCHC has been chosen as one of 11 Community Health Centres across Ontario to take part in a social prescribing pilot program. The goal of this project is to develop non-medical, cost effective interventions that focus on addressing the social determinants of health through social prescribing. This will enable primary healthcare professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical, community services and activities.

“We are very excited about the positive outcomes of the social prescribing pilot program so far. Our healthcare providers are connecting clients to various non-medical supports such as our Hobbies and Crafts workshops, Friendly Visiting program, FoodFit, Nordic Pole walking group and more. As a result, clients are reporting improvements in mental health and sense of wellbeing. They feel less isolated, have stronger social support networks, and take pride in “giving back” as volunteers,” said Heather Klein Gebbinck, Executive Director, South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre.

Most recently, Global News visited the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre and highlighted its success with social prescribing and the important link between connectedness and wellbeing – Social prescriptions: Sense of belonging could be best medicine.

Caroll Thompson, a volunteer at the SGBCHC, says that volunteering has made a huge impact in her life. “Volunteering in the community is a fun thing to do. I feel like I’m making a difference and I made a new friend. The social prescribing programs at the SGBCHC have helped me assimilate into the community more and I feel a lot happier and more settled,” said Thompson.

To learn more about the provincial-wide social prescribing pilot program and early results, read the newly released Progress Report Rx: Community – Social Prescribing in Ontario.

To learn more about the SGBCHC social prescribing programs in Wasaga Beach and surrounding areas, visit or contact Susan Puttkemery, SGBCHC at 705-422-1888 x118.


About South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre

The South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre is a non-profit, community-governed, charitable organization that focuses on the health and wellbeing of individuals in the community. They provide everyone in the community with access to healthcare services, free community programs and community development. The SGBCHC is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network. For more information please visit

Media Contact:
Louise Picot
South Georgian Bay CHC

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