Project Spotlight: Alliance for Healthier Communities

Social Prescribing for Better Mental Health

Supporting the expansion of social prescribing to organizations and health providers across Ontario


Populations/communities experiencing the highest disease burden of COVID-19.



To promote positive mental health, prevent mental illness, and build capacity to address new and complex needs emerging from the pandemic.


Using a social prescribing approach, this project will:

  • Provide 28 Ontario-based Community Health Centres with funding to support the implementation of social prescribing to facilitate connection of community members and clients to non-clinical supports that support better mental health
  • Provide training and resources to up to 100+ interprofessional, primary health care organizations to support social prescribing implementation, as well as enhance community-based mental health promotion programming
  • Support Ontario 211/Community Connection in enhancing their capacity to offer social prescribing through a closed-loop referral pathway
  • Co-create and deliver a comprehensive online learning module for best practices in Equity Focused Social Prescribing that will be available and accessible for service providers across Canada



  • Interprofessional, primary health care organizations
  • Community

Implementation sites

  • Ontario


Recent research has shown:

    • The number of Canadians with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has more than doubled
    • Individuals reporting a weak sense of community belonging were 10 times more likely to screen positive for MDD
    • Increasingly, social isolation and loneliness are being recognized as significant risk factors that affect people’s physical and mental health.


In the words of the project team members

“Social prescribing is connecting someone with their community, it’s connecting someone with non-clinical supports to support themselves, their interests and what they need. It is one way that we can make sure that people are able to connect with the communities that are around them to support their mental health and wellbeing.”

Key protective factors

  • Social Networks
  • Involvement in community and group activities
  • Civic engagement and empowerment
  • Equity
  • Supportive relationships in the community

Key approaches

  • Social prescribing
  • Equity-focused