SP:ACE (Social Prescribing: Advancing Child and youth Evidence, policy and practice)

Catalysing international policy, practice and research for social prescribing and youth mental health

This collaborative research project led by the Social Biobehavioural Research Group (UCL) and the University of Toronto (UofT) aims to address the underrepresentation of young people in accessing social prescribing for improving mental health.  

Despite evidence demonstrating that social prescribing is effective in enhancing mental wellbeing, there is a global lack of guidance in policy, practice and research, particularly concerning youth.

This project encapsulates an array of activities aiming to catalyse youth social prescribing efforts and overcome some of the field’s challenges. Researchers working on this initiative will: 

  • Conduct an updated evidence review on youth social prescribing, which has expanded in recent years. 
  • Host international consortium meetings bringing together international leaders on youth social prescribing to share the latest evidence, discuss policies and present international best practices.  
  • Develop a scientific framework to address the current lack of guidance on implementing youth social prescribing in mental health. 
  • Conduct empirical research investigating university students’ perceptions, experiences, barriers and facilitators related to social prescribing to recommend improvements that would refine social prescribing in this demographic.  
  • Organise a knowledge exchange event to nurture future collaborations and to develop a teaching module on youth social prescribing for graduate students at UCL and UofT.  


University College London–University of Toronto (UofT) Emerging Global Talents fund 

Programme Area

Partnerships and networks, Complexity science, Policy



Co-Principal Investigators

Dr Dan Hayes
Dr Nicole D’souza (UofT) 


Prof Daisy Fancourt
Dr Kate Mulligan (UofT) 
Caitlin Muhl (UofT) 


2023 – 2024

Key contact