Elemental chosen as social prescribing partner for the Association of College’s student mental health initiative

Elemental Software has been selected to partner with the Higher Education Social Prescribing Project, which is a collaboration project funded by the Office for Students. It brings together 10 Further Education Colleges from the North-West of England: Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS, The Lancashire Colleges, Merseyside Colleges Association, the Association of Colleges and Elemental Software to develop and implement a highly innovative Social Prescribing approach to improve mental health outcomes for higher education students.


Becoming a student can be a stressful experience, and while stress isn’t considered a mental health issue, it is linked to our mental health in many ways and can lead to depression and anxiety. This has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and according to the Office for National Statistics, almost two-thirds (63%) of students reported a worsening of their wellbeing and mental health since the start of the 2020 term with 26% reported experiencing loneliness too.


Implementing a social prescribing approach across Higher Education will improve student access to a broader range of services and interventions addressing the wider determinants of mental health but currently there is neither support nor referral pathways in place to enable support for Higher Education students in this way. This project focuses on prevention of mental ill-health and early intervention, building place-based partnerships able to instantly connect students to the health and wellbeing support they co-design. Embedding a digital solution will enable the Higher Education Social Prescribing Project to support more students as demand rises whilst also ensuring the adoption of the model can be easily replicated nationally.


The project is planned to be implemented across 10 Further Education Colleges with 20 Higher Education Social Prescribing Link Workers being given access to the Elemental social prescribing platform. The target is to have at least 1,000 students access the system with the expectation that improved mental health outcomes among Higher Education students will lead to improved wellbeing and higher attendances. 20 Higher Education Social Prescribing Link Workers will also be granted access to the Elemental platform, which will allow for closer support for students.


Jennifer Neff, MD and Co-Founder of Elemental Software

“We are delighted to partner with the Association of Colleges on this fantastic project providing early intervention and prevention of mental ill-health to students across the North-West of England. Social prescribing is all about connecting people to the services available within their community, and as many students move away from home, they are more likely to be unaware of the support available to them. We look forward to continuing the work with all the great organisation’s involved in this project and helping improve the lives of their students through social prescribing.”