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Resilience and Well being: Communities and People

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Introduction
Publications
Research and Practice
Videos and Presentations
Organisations
Links


Introduction

What is Resilience? The term resilience is used in mental health to describe a person’s capacity to cope with changes and challenges, and to bounce back during difficult times. The concept developed from research looking at risk factors for developing mental health problems and substance use. Risk factors are circumstances or experiences which increase the possibility of a person developing a mental health problem or illness, such as having a parent with a mental illness, being bullied or abused, or experiencing a stressful life event.

What is Social / Emotional Wellbeing? This term describes a state in which people feel socially and emotionally well and capable. Another term that is sometimes used is mental health, where health is a positive capacity as distinct from illness. These terms relate to particular aspects of a person’s wellbeing that are different from physical health – they include areas such as our feelings, thoughts and relationships. Being resilient – being able to overcome challenges and setbacks – helps to promote social and emotional wellbeing.

Building Resilience and Wellbeing Resilience and wellbeing are dependent upon both internal and external factors. A person’s innate way of looking at the world and solving problems can influence their resilience and wellbeing – but people can learn new skills to help them respond more positively to life’s challenges. The environment is also important, as people develop working models about social interaction and come to an understanding of what other people expect of them.

There is a wealth of evidence that positive wellbeing influences a wide range of outcomes for individuals and communities, including better physical and mental health, higher educational attainment and more social cohesion. There is also an increasingly strong body of evidence that in order to increase levels of societal and individual wellbeing, there needs to be a reduction in socio-economic inequalities.

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Publications (date ordered)

Building Community Resilience and Wellbeing Report This paper was prepared for the Mental Health Commission of NSW to support the development of the Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014 – 2024, October 2014 Building community resilience and wellbeing exists as part of a whole of life-course, whole of government and whole of community approach to mental health, and importantly also to wellbeing. Such an approach is transformational, some may argue a “paradigm shift”, and requires the existence of two key preconditions: (a) changing “the locus of responsibility” for health (i.e. who is at the centre of responsibility)- from health services to the individual, community and its institutions as a whole; and (b) enabling people to conceptualize and use language related to wellbeing not just health and illness. These two preconditions need to be created to enable further building of community resilience and wellbeing in a whole of life-course, whole of government, whole of community manner. To achieve a whole of community approach to resilience and wellbeing, the typical mental health service pyramid needs inverting to reinforce those elements that enable wellbeing, strengths and resiliency while showing how additive levels or layers of support are bought to bear as necessary. So this means not only having communities taking wider responsibility for mental health of individuals and families, but also for wellbeing. Individuals, families and organisations will need tools, time and incentives to make this double transition from “the health service is responsible for promoting health and preventing and managing illness for the community” to “the individuals, families, institutions and the whole of the community are responsible for concurrently promoting health and wellbeing for themselves and other, whilst concurrently preventing and managing illness”. Stated conversely, the government health service alone cannot and should not care for the health and wellbeing of society.

Building resilient communities Making every contact count for public mental health A briefing for public health team Mind and the Mental Health Foundation 2013 This new report brings together the evidence base and people’s experiences about what makes resilient people and communities. It offers practical steps to help teams design wellbeing and resilience services aimed at preventing the development of mental health problems, and to measure their impact.

Promoting Resilience and Wellbeing Response Ability, Commonwealth of Australia 2005. Promoting wellbeing and resilience for children and young people. The role of Education and Schools

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Research and Practice

Measuring Wellbeing This briefing by the Mental Health Foundation provides a basic 'need to know' introduction to measuring wellbeing. It looks at various definitions of wellbeing, summarises previous work on measuring wellbeing across the UK, and sets out the potential benefits of creating authoritative wellbeing indicators. This briefing describes the Coalition Government's proposals to measure success in the UK not solely in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but in terms of overall 'national wellbeing' and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) consultation process on how this might be measured. Download PDF here.


Resilience and mental health Dmitry Davydov, Robert Stewart, Karen Ritchie, Isabelle Chaudieu, Clinical Psychology Review / Clinical Psychological Review, 2010, 30 (5), pp.479-95 The relationship between disease and good health has received relatively little attention in mental health. Resilience can be viewed as a defence mechanism, which enables people to thrive in the face of adversity and improving resilience may be an important target for treatment and prophylaxis. Though resilience is a widely-used concept, studies vary substantially in their definition, and measurement. Above all, there is no common underlying theoretical construct to this very heterogeneous research which makes the evaluation and comparison of findings extremely difficult. Furthermore, the varying multi-disciplinary approaches preclude metaanalysis, so that clarification of research in this area must proceed firstly by conceptual unification. We attempt to collate and classify the available research around a multi-level biopsychosocial model, theoretically and semiotically comparable to that used in describing the complex chain of events related to host resistance in infectious disease. Using this underlying construct we attempt to reorganize current knowledge around a unitary concept in order to clarify and indicate potential intervention points for increasing resilience and positive mental health.

Promoting Mental Health And Well-being In Later Life A report from the UK Inquiry into Mental Health and Well-Being in Later Life conducted jointly by Age Concern and the Mental Health Foundation. Download the PDF here.

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Videos and Presentations

Taking A Break Produced by the Mental Health Foundation Taking a break is good for your mental health and wellbeing. It's important to take some time out to relax. Here are a range of podcasts which you can download and listen to which can help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing.  Listen to them either on your computer or your personal MP3 player. Find out more here.

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Organisations

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Links

Resilience in Mind – early action for mental health from Community Links

One in four people has a mental health problem.  But all of us have mental health – something which needs maintaining and looking after.  Our ambition as Mind is to do more to support people before they experience mental health problems, to improve our chances of staying well.  Some people call this early action, others call is prevention, some call it public mental health. It is all of those things, and for us it is about building the resilience of individuals and communities. Article by Sarah Holloway, Mind

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