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The Compassion Project: The true story of the town that beat loneliness

Julian Abel, Lindsay Clarke

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Health psychology

'It could... be one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs of recent decades. It could transform treatment regimes, save lives, and save health services a fortune. Is it a drug? A device? A surgical procedure? No, it's a newfangled intervention called community.' George Monbiot, The Guardian

Frome in Somerset has seen a dramatic fall in emergency hospital admissions since it began a collective project to combat isolation. While emergency admissions to hospitals across Somerset have increased by 29%, incurring a 21% increase in costs, Frome has seen admissions fall by 17%, with a 21% reduction in costs.

Society has developed in such a way to facilitate a drastic malnourishment of community, connection and compassion. This book sets out the case for the effective restoration of the active power of compassion as a widely available, fundamental force for good in all aspects of human life. In the process, it draws attention to research which demonstrates that an innate capacity and need for compassionate behaviour is closely woven into the fabric of our bodies.

But this is also a book with stories to tell - the stories of how, by harnessing the power of compassion in the lives of real men and women, the small English town of Frome has opened up a new approach to the practice of medicine which has improved individual health and welfare while at the same time enhancing the vitality of the whole community. The effects of this approach have proved so beneficial that it has attracted international attention and is now transforming perspectives on issues of healthcare and social welfare across the world.

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