Innovative company at forefront of tackling downside of pandemic

Press Release: Innovative company at forefront of tackling downside of pandemic

An innovative company created by a group of former community workers has been at the forefront of tackling the hidden downside of the Covid-19 pandemic – its impact on mental health.

Elemental helps almost 50,000 people across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland digitally connect people to non-medical sources of support in their own communities, a concept known as social prescribing.


These include debt advice, employment support, vocational training, volunteering activities, learning and men’s sheds.


Co-founder Jennifer Neff said: “The lockdown has been necessary of course to minimise the impact of the pandemic on people’s physical health.


“But what hasn’t been spoken about as much is the effect on mental health, particularly in areas of social deprivation.


“We have been working with a range of partners to help support at-risk individuals with the practical difficulties posed by Covid-19, which if left unaddressed can lead to the need for clinical intervention. 


“Our digital tools, which allows users to make, manage and report on referrals to local prescribing hubs with ease and confidence, have never been in greater demand.”

One of Elemental’s partnerships is with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest mental health trusts in England.


Following a review of the social determinants of poor mental health more than five years ago, Mersey Care established a series of Life Rooms, small localised hubs at the heart of communities, particularly in areas of social deprivation.


Mersey Care director Michael Crilly said: “It is the social issues that really have among the greatest impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.


“There is a much bigger focus now on people actually being able to prevent the impact of mental distress.


“Social prescribing has been an incredibly powerful tool for us over the past three to four years. 


“What we have been doing very rapidly with Elemental is taking our digital platform and creating over-the-phone video conferencing support for individuals who are dealing with the practical realities of Covid-19.


“We’ve been using Elemental to speed people through to that community partnership that exists around us, so that straightaway the issues that are beginning to cause people a huge amount of struggle are being addressed.


“So many of those actually won’t in the first instance be mental health related. We have been able to connect with people 2,500 in the last five weeks – that’s pretty phenomenal.”


He said that the contact allowed services to address social and practical issues such as food and shopping.


“If those are not addressed, it can result in heightened anxiety and a fall into potential crisis services. We have been able to work pro-actively to head off clinical need.


“People are petrified of the potential impact of Covid-19 in the future, the loss of jobs, of livelihood, how will they make their finances work.


“By being able to work in this digital way we feel as though we have been able to head off some of what could be a mental health pandemic.”

Photos by Tangerine Event Photography []


Elemental is an award winning Tech For Good company that is bridging the gap between health, housing, local government and the community via their portfolio of digital social prescribing products and consultancy services, designed to support the strategy and practice of self-care and independence and community resilience. 


Elemental helps stakeholders in population health management to focus on the wider determinants of health: income, wealth, housing, education, transport, leisure and supports the adoption of health behaviours and lifestyles: smoking, diet, drinking, exercise. Elemental better connects stakeholders, providers of services and patients with health risks in the places and communities we live in whilst generating data that helps inform the design and delivery of an integrated health and care system.


Former community development workers, Jennifer Neff and Leeann Monk, developed Elemental to halt health inequalities by connecting people, building communities and improving lives. They have played a major role in the uptake and adoption of the social prescribing movement that has seen communities gain better access to programmes, services and support in their local neighbourhoods that improve their mental and physical wellbeing. 


“Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services” – The King’s Fund.


Elemental continues to be the preferred and leading software provider in the UK as it is the platform of choice for 310 digital social prescribing hubs and has over 700 Social Prescribing Link Workers and 4050 health and care professionals using the platform to make, manage and report on patient referrals into community based programmes and services that improve a person’s mental and physical health.  


Elemental integrates with the leading GP clinical systems provider across the UK, EMIS, SystmOne and Vision and is the only social prescription software provider to do so across all providers. 


In addition both co-founders have extensive experience (combined 30 years) within in the Community &Voluntary sector from a front line ‘Link Worker’ perspective, which helps navigate the complexities in this space, as well as:

  1. A deep understanding of the topic –  years of experience in this and similar spaces.
  2. Developed and Delivered software – having no software development experience
  3. Reference-able clients – happy customers, using the solution to deliver care and support to people in their communities. Real life, Real RoI, 1st to Market and market leaders
  4. Experienced backers – strong investment, for growth and stability, with commercial acumen to support social prescribing expertise.


Contact details for more information:

Serena Terry

COO, Elemental