Do this – Policy Recommendations

Over 50 years of wellbeing research and analysis suggest that we can improve wellbeing by focusing onPolicy Priorities Wellbeing and Policy Commission.png

  1. Mental health and social & emotional skills 
    • treat mental ill-health as professionally as physical ill-health
    • support parents in their parenting, their relationships and mother’s mental
      health
    • building social and emotional skills in schools and work
      • skills such as  character, resilience, empathy, self-control, perseverance, gratitude & savouring, cope with shocks
  2. Community
    • promote volunteering and giving
    • address loneliness
    • create a built environment that is sociable and green
      • opportunity to know neighbors but give choice about amount of contact, shorter, better commutes
      • connection to natural world, green & blue spaces and natural light, reduce environmental stressors like noise & pollution
  3. Income and work
    • promote balanced, stable economic growth
      • allows investment in health & welfare to protect us, gives choice and free time for leisure, arts and education
    • aim for stable employment and low unemployment
      • jobs with purpose, challenge, income and good social connections
    • more wellbeing at work
      • clear expectations, reasonable freedom, control & agency, consultation, support, recognition & opportunity, reasonable work life balance for time with friends, family and for leisure.
  4. Governance 
    • Treat citizens with respect and empower them more
      • Devolve power and control, consultation,  increase trust in our collective institutions, reduce corruption
      • dignity, agency & control, reduce hassle of bureaucracy, better feedback loops for services, faster less contracted legal process especially for children and families,
    • Measure wellbeing as a policy goal
    • Give citizens the wellbeing data they need

➡ See Lord Gus O’Donnell on How a spending review should look if the government wants a happier Britain

We know less about how to improve these aspects of wellbeing so it is important that we test out and learn collectively from action in these areas.

Taking wellbeing as a goal for policy and community action places greater weight on the human factors that explain big differences in our wellbeing.  This includes mental health, human relationship, compassion, care, personal agency and control. It is grounded in aspects of life that really matter to people.

Findings support an intuitive view of what matters including health, income, work, social contact.  More surprising things also matter such as our governance.

  • Physical and mental health are both major factors in our personal wellbeing, especially mental health.  This is more important than income.
  • Quality of our personal relationships at home, work and in our community make a big difference to our wellbeing.
  • Unemployment, especially for more than a year, has a major lasting impact on our wellbeing more than bereavement or divorce. The impact is more than the loss of income.
  • Our community is important – trust, giving, freedom and absence of corruption matter.
  • Disadvantage is more than just income but income is important.

Sources – Commission for Wellbeing and Policy 2014 and World Happiness Report 2016