Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE)
How to Make Societies Thrive? Coordinating Approaches to Promote Well-being and Mental
Good mental health is a vital part of people’s well-being. This report uses the OECD
Well-being Framework to systematically review how people’s economic, social, relational,
civic and environmental experiences shape and are, in turn, shaped by their mental
health. Based on this evidence, examples of co-benefits, or policy interventions that
can jointly improve both mental health and other well-being outcomes, are identified
for a range of government departments. Implementing and sustaining such co-benefits
requires resources, incentives and working arrangements that enable all relevant stakeholders
to contribute to tackling the upstream determinants of mental health. Selected mental
health initiatives across OECD countries are reviewed to illustrate how policy makers
have been realigning action across government agencies; redesigning policy formulation
to address the joint factors influencing mental health; refocusing efforts towards
the promotion of positive mental health; and reconnecting with societal stakeholders
beyond government, including those with lived experience, youth, civil society and
research institutions. How to Make Societies Thrive? Coordinating Approaches to Promote
Well-being and Mental Health is the second of two reports as part of a broader OECD
project on mental health and well-being.
People experiencing mental distress, and those with low levels of positive mental
health, fare worse across all dimensions of well-being, from material deprivation
to lower quality of life and worse inter-personal and communal outcomes.
Countries can deliver mental health and well-being co-benefits
Examples include increased access to social assistance programmes; encouraging employers
to prioritise mental health; incorporating social and emotional learning in curricula;
expanding social prescribing programmes; making social connectedness a policy target;
and accounting for the mental health costs of climate change.
Policies require collaboration across stakeholders
Lessons from mental health initiatives in select OECD countries show the importance
of clearly defining mental health goals; allocating time and resources for partnership
building across agencies, levels of government and civil society; strategic grantmaking
to fund non-health activities; and provisions for programme evaluation.