‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ is a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population. They were developed by nef (the new economics foundation). This argues that there needs to be a broader perspective of the importance of mental wellbeing, beyond exclusively health policy, with prevention being seen as equally important to treatment. As part of this mental health should be measured not only in the absence of mental illness but also in the presence of a positive and healthy mindset, as this has been found to have a positive impact for the wider society.
The ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ are formed around connecting, being active, taking notice of positive experiences, learning, and giving. This report looks into how these ideas have been used across the country, these types of interventions can be implemented at both and organisational and individual levels. Initiatives or interventions may also serve a secondary purpose through improving wellbeing, for example increasing opportunities. However, it was found that of these approaches, ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ is more often adopted to make changes at the individual level and specifically for the improvement of wellbeing exclusively.
This nef and NHS report notes that in order for behaviour to change it is important for the delivery of the wellbeing messages to be an active learning process as opposed to passive presentation, and also that these messages can be more effective when aiming for dual objectives. Impact measurement was seen to be an area in which there was the least confidence, but where this was done the results from using the ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ were positive. Recommendations for those using the wellbeing messages, was that it would be beneficial to have this better promoted at the national level, to encourage prevention, aid integration, and provide resources.
“Evolve welcomes this simple set of messages to help improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
Our Health Mentors reinforce these messages within their school based programmes as part of a holistic wellbeing improvement strategy that helps to drive academic performance and raise standards in schools.
More importantly, children graduate from these interventions with greater resilience and awareness of their emotions that better prepare them for leading healthy, happy and more fulfilled lives.”
– John Bishop, Evolve Managing Director
To read the full report, click here.