A commissioning framework for public health

Last week I was at the Guardian Public Health Dialogue in London, discussing how the new systems for public health will affect the UK. And eating crisps, of course. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Government’s plans, in a nutshell the responsibilities for the health of the public are moving into Local…
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12 steps to happiness

Here’s another take on the “things you should do to be happy” riff, this time from the Care Services Improvement Partnership. Interestingly they reference the economic crisis – which is funny because the economic crisis is also referencing us.

Here’s a summary of their, erm… twelve:

In situations of sustained social, economic and psychological stress, most people experience symptoms of mental illness. What might be called the ‘five fruit and vegetables’ of mental health help to protect mental wellbeing for everyone, whether or not they have symptoms. They include:

  1. keeping physically active
  2. eating well
  3. drinking in moderation
  4. valuing yourself and others
  5. talking about your feelings
  6. keeping in touch with friends and loved ones
  7. caring for others
  8. getting involved and making a contribution
  9. learning new skills
  10. doing something creative
  11. taking a break
  12. asking for help

These ‘positive steps’ for mental health are familiar themes in a wide range of research on what people who experience mental health problems find helpful. They provide a foundation for everyone’s mental health and now need to be much more widely disseminated to the general public.

My goodness there are a lot of these lists out there. I could really stress myself out worrying about all the things I’m not doing. 😉

Anyway, it’s good stuff really so do read more in the full (pdf) document, Making it Possible: Improving Mental Health and Well-being in England.


Foresight Five

Bit of press coverage in the UK today about the publication of Foresight’s Mental Capital and Wellbeing Report.

As the Times and the Guardian explain, some 400 scientists have identified the following five activities that we should do every day to be mentally healthy:

  • Connect
    Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support
  • Be active
    Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
  • Be curious
    Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you
  • Learn
    Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence
  • Give
    Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding

They’re difficult to argue with, but it does feel a bit general to me. And personally, having nothing in there about being in the natural world is rather surprising. If I have more time I’ll do a bit of digging into how they’ve arrived at the conclusions, particularly whether these are just things which on average helped more people, or if they’re geniunely things which they believe will work for everyone.

What do you think? How do the experts’ suggestions measure up to your five-a-day?