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Advice on Prescription - working towards better mental health for the people of Liverpool

Updated: May 22, 2023

Did you know that in 2022-23, a staggering 45% of clients referred to our health programme reported feeling severely anxious or depressed? That's 7.5x the Liverpool average of 6%.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, we're shining a light on our Advice on Prescription (APP) programme, a social prescribing service commissioned by the NHS and delivered by Citizens Advice Liverpool. The programme can only be accessed through a referral, with all health professionals working in primary or secondary care able to refer patients who could benefit from practical advice and wellbeing support on non-medical issues.

How does Advice on Prescription help those with poor mental health?

APP recognises mental health as a priority health condition that is often worsened by practical worries such as debt, housing problems or accessing benefits. Therefore, the APP service has dedicated support for those living with mental health conditions, taking the form of specialist welfare Case Workers who support people with mental health conditions, and we also have Link Workers who take referrals from mental health teams to assist in building wellbeing plans for these patients. The service is open to both inpatients and outpatients, and we are experienced in accommodating those suffering from mild to severe symptoms.

Cristina, our Mental Health Link Worker at an event for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023

We are proactive in our treatment offering by operating a number of outreaches in settings where we expect to come into contact with those experiencing poor mental health. On a weekly basis, we are operating 20+ outreaches in locations such as:

  • Mental health wards - for those experiencing severe mental health issues.

  • Hospitals - including various Liverpool Womens Hospital units, where we work directly with perinatal mental health teams, and The Royal Hospital.

  • GP Surgeries and Community Health Centres - we attend many GP surgeries in Liverpool once a week

  • The Life Rooms - we have advisors in Walton taking referrals from pathways advisors.

  • Everton in the Community - An innovative partnership with the charity means we now have a dedicated caseworker at the Everton base.

  • Citizens Advice Liverpool offices - providing a quiet and safe space in the heart of the community to speak with advisors and link workers.

  • Awareness Events - our team regularly attend events in libraries and community centres across Liverpool, speaking with both members of the public and health staff so they can learn more about accessing our services, e.g. World Mental Health Day in October and International Womens Day in March.

Case Study: our service in action

Anna, who suffers from anxiety, was referred to us when she expressed to her midwife that she was concerned about her financial situation while pregnant:

Our community partnerships

Maria, Advice on Prescription Co-Ordinator, pictured with colleagues at YPAS

Our partnerships with community groups with mental health support offerings also provide an additional referral route to the programme. The types of organisations we work with include:

By working with these community organisations, we are able to reach demographics who may, for whatever reason, avoid seeking help in healthcare settings.

A brief summary

Our consistent work with mental health patients and mental health professionals makes us experts in this field. The service is designed to be a helping hand for health professionals to improve the care for their patients and thus enhance their recovery. We are here not just to improve the lives of our patients, but also to enhance the health service in Liverpool through social prescribing and to share the workload healthcare professionals are currently facing.

We are here for you, whether you're worried about a patient or if you are thinking about a referral for yourself.

Mental Health Crisis support

If you or someone you know needs urgent mental health support, there are services that can help:


1. What is a social prescribing service?

2. What is primary and secondary care?

Primary care refers to a patient's usual first point of contact, for example:

  • GP's

  • Community Nurses

  • Eyecare

  • Dentists

Secondary care, also referred to as hospital and community care, is care that cannot be resolved in a primary care setting. This could be either planned or urgent care, for example:

  • Hospital appointments

  • 999 or 111 services and out-of-hours GP surgeries

  • Mental health crisis care

3. How can I get a referral?

In the case of those with mental illness, referrals to this service are made by mental health practitioners, including ward staff, psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses, community mental health teams and mental health social workers.

4. What happens once a referral to APP is made?

We are a rapid response service, ensuring referrals are contacted within 2 working days for an assessment. Everyone who is referred is offered combined practical advice and wellbeing support, tackling the most urgent issues the client is facing first.

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