Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Wellbeing News Round Up

Five steps for a high well-being society
A new report has been published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Wellbeing Economics, which is based on a nine-month inquiry exploring well-being and makes five key recommendations for building a ‘high well-being society’. These are:

1). Focus on stable jobs, not growth.
2). Promote shorter, more flexible 
working hours. 
3). More green spaces in our cities
4). Mindfulness training for doctors
and teachers. 
5). Invest in arts and culture.

The report calls for all political parties to set out in their manifestos their strategy for building a high well-being society, and how they are going to embed well-being into the policy process if they are elected. The New Economics Foundation suggests ‘you write to your MP asking them for their party’s take on the report’ and that we try and ‘make the next parliament the one where well-being takes its rightful place as a central goal of government policy’.

Somebody dies by taking their own life every 40 seconds, according to a significant report by the World Health Organization.
This report has deemed suicide a ‘major public health problem that was too often shrouded in taboo’. The report is based on 10 years of research and data on suicide from around the world, and has concluded:

Around 800,000 people kill themselves every year. 
It was the second leading cause of death in young people, aged 15 to 29.
Those over 70 were the most likely to take their own lives. 
Three-quarters of these deaths were in low and middle income countries. 
In richer countries, three times as many men as women die by suicide

The economic crisis in Europe and North America led to more than 10,000 extra suicides, according to figures from UK researchers 

The study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine analysed data from 24 EU countries, the US and Canada, and suggest that there’s a lot of good evidence showing recessions lead to rising suicides. They have, however, discovered that this isn’t the case everywhere and is significantly influenced by different country’s political policies.  Unsurprisingly, countries such as Austria, Sweden and Finland, who invest in schemes that help people return to work (such as training, advice and subsidised wages) and support and protect vulnerable groups are not facing this dire influx of suicides. Clearly, in fraught economic times, we need to take even greater steps to support the most desperate. 

Arts to be further integrated into medical training (www.artsprofessional.co.uk/profile/liz-hill. Liz Hill, Arts Professional)
A new project has been funded where healthcare workers will receive arts-based training, in an attempt to reduce human error in medical interventions and improve patient safety and wellbeing. This initiative is part of a three-year research and development partnership programme and will be delivered for medical professionals at King’s Health Partners in London, supported by a £580k grant from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. The findings will then be shared with medical and arts educationalists, policymakers and participatory artists across the UK, with the aim of establishing arts-based learning as a key methodology in the training of healthcare professionals. 

New report by the Mental Health Network: ‘The future’s digital: mental health and technology’   
This report argues that compared to many other service sectors, mental health services – and the NHS more broadly – are behind the curve with regard to using new technologies. The report argues that we need to make more use of digital technology and online resources to improve overall public mental health. Everyone should be able to access reliable information about mental health and wellbeing online and to access help and advice anonymously in a variety of ways (live chat, email, text and phone). The scope for how technology aids the way we design and deliver NHS mental health services is huge, giving more efficiency and choice and empowering individuals to take charge of their own recovery. 

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