Guide for new Social Prescribing Link Workers

On this page:

  • General Orientation
  • Mental health specific free online training
  • Useful resources for coaching
  • Useful resources for your own well-being

Lianna Martin

To recap on who I am and my role: I am the Regional Learning Coordinator for Social Prescribing Link Workers across London.  This is an NHSE funded post – my role is to connect Link Workers to each other, organise peer support, learning and networking opportunities for Link Workers across London.  Part of this is ensuring I have my ear to the ground in terms of how services are operating, what challenges SPLW are facing in order that I can organise relevant sessions, linking SPLW up with each other on an adhoc basis and feed back to NHSE where additional guidance and support would benefit SPLWs and the work they do.

My door is always open – and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

General Orientation

Have a read:

NHS England has a range of materials to help you in your job.  A section has been added to the SP Platform (see above and get registered if you don’t have access) which provides all the guidance, templates and info you need to carry out your role, including:

Sign up to the FuturesNHS Collaboration platform & watch the recent NHSE webinar for new SPLWs

  • Sign up by completing the registration on their homepage 
  • You will receive a confirmation email (please see ‘One Page user guide’ PDF attached for next steps)
  • There is also a ‘London Region’ that they will have access to and might be worth a little look
  • Once you are signed up, you can watch the most recent webinar welcoming new SPLWs (1hr long + brilliant slides attached here).  It is a fantastically useful session and would recommend you all watching it together to discuss after:

Sign up to London SP network mailing lists

  • Sign up to my mailing list here 
  • I run special sessions for new SPLWs and have regular peer supports – you can find out more here
  • There are some resources on my page on the Bromley by Bow Centre – you might find some useful bits and pieces on here
  • London Plus also circulate a useful bulletin focused on social prescribing (that I also contribute to) – you can sign up here

Take some online training specific for Social Prescribing Link Workers

Your PCN may also send you on further training for your induction, including mandatory and statutory training or courses on motivational interviewing, behaviour change or health coaching, mental health and so on. Here is some useful online training for your first couple of weeks:

There are 3 further modules in development: Social Prescribing and Mental Health, Children and Young People, Welfare and Legal

  • Supporting vulnerable people over the phone: 100min virtual training session including: things to cover in a call, top tips on approach and tone, a SPLW with extensive experience of delivering SP over the phone sharing their learnings and a Samaritans phone line volunteer talking about managing a conversation with someone with mental health issues and/or suicidal thoughts, topped off with a Q&A.  Please watch the video HERE (template telephone assessment guide attached to the email)
  • How to use SNOMED codes: a 15min tutorial on SNOMED codes, why they are important and how to use them.  Please watch the video HERE

Mental health specific free and online training

  • Get Psychological First Aid training (PFA) training for free and help people with different needs to cope with the emotional impact of COVID-19 – PHE have just made PFA free for all frontline staff, essential workers and volunteers via the FutureLearn platform (1hr a week for 3 weeks – self guided learning).  More info and sign up HERE.  For those wanting to know more about the approach, Thrive London have a very useful feature HERE. 
  • The Zero Suicide Alliance have a fantastic 10 minute introduction to, and a 20 minute self guided training session  suicide prevention HERE.  Worth sharing with people caring for people suffering with their mental health also so worth a look. 
  • Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare has added a new e-learning session on Public Mental Health to its MindEd programme.  The new online session is aimed at public health practitioners and trainees and members of the primary care, secondary mental health, social care and commissioning workforce. It is free to access HERE and covers the following subjects: 
    • Impacts of mental disorder and wellbeing 
    • Effective public mental health interventions  
    • Public mental health implementation gap and how to assess this 
    • How to improve population access to public mental health interventions.
  • List of Mental Health Training on E-learning:

Useful resources for coaching

Useful resources for your own well-being

The NHS have developed a range of resources for healthcare workers – go to the website for the full list of different kinds of support available:  


  • Free confidential support line for NHS staff: Operated by Samaritans – Call 0800 069622 / Text FRONTLINE to 85258  / More information HERE 
  • Confidential bereavement support line: Operated by Hospice UK and free to access from 8:00am – 8:00pm, seven days a week.  
  • NHS Bereavement & Trauma Line: Operated by Hospice UK – team of fully qualified and trained professionals, including Tagalog speakers for Filipino Staff,  
    • Website:  
    • Dedicated bereavement support line: Call 0300 303 1115 
  • Virtual ‘Staff Common Rooms’ – opportunity for peer support  
  • Free access to a number of wellbeing apps  

Free coaching and mentoring offer for NHS workers

As part the health and wellbeing support offer to NHS staff, Social Prescribing Link Workers attached to PCNs can access free coaching and mentoring sessions delivered by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with coaching companies and other leading organisations.  This is a FANTASTIC resource, especially for those not receiving adequate supervision.   For more information and directions on signing up follow 

Free key worker support Wisdom and Wellbeing Consultancy are offering free ‘Resilience Chats’ for key workers to provide a supported listening space. You can find more information on their website: 

Free 24 hour counselling helpline for link workers funded through the DES 

Access to self-care apps, counselling and online CBT for Link Workers is available to those who do not have an NHS email address if you can let Healthassured know that your link worker role has been funded through the DES (even if you’re employed in a VCSE organisation you can access the Healthassured support below):

Visit EAP online here and enter 72936 in the username box and in the password box. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provides confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: The free 24-hour telephone counselling and information services can be accessed at any time of the day and night. Call: 0800 783 2808. You can also download the Health-E app.

Practitioner Health offer another long list of ways to access support for yourself via the NHS: