Lilyanne’s, according to Ms Arnold, strives to have personnel ready to interact with customers at all times.
Every Wednesday, a social prescribing link worker from the GP federation is on hand at the café GP to help people cope with loneliness by just speaking with them or encouraging them to join social groups, workshops, or sports teams.
“People have a strong understanding of what social isolation is because they’ve been in that situation since we’ve been under lockdown,” Ms Arnold said. “Previously, people could say it was sad and then walk away, but today people truly understand how it feels. Not everyone who is depressed or lonely wants to take medicine; sometimes they just want to talk to someone or see a pleasant face.”
Loneliness has always been a concern, according to Rachael Davison, a spokesman for Hartlepool and Stockton Health, a federation of area GPs, but coronavirus lockdowns have exacerbated the situation.
“Previously, we discovered a significant frequency of over 50s who were alone and lonely just due to situation.”
“But now it’s a whole new domain of individuals, especially young groups, so we’ve had patients that are socially isolated in their late teens and early twenties.”
“We’re attempting to get folks to gradually reintegrate into the community.”