Mental health and wellbeing

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as:

Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in.

The Department of Health defines wellbeing as:

Wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well. Personal Wellbeing is most often considered, this asks people directly how they think and feel about their own wellbeing, and includes aspects such as life satisfaction, positive emotions, and whether their life is meaningful. Objective Wellbeing is also important and is based on assumptions about basic human needs and rights, including aspects such as adequate food, physical health, education, safety etc.

Our mental health influences our physical health, as well as our capability to lead a healthy lifestyle and to manage and recover from physical health conditions. People with physical health problems, especially long-term conditions, are at increased risk of poor mental health - particularly depression and anxiety. Around 30% of people with any long-term physical health condition also have a mental health problem. Poor mental health, in turn, exacerbates some long-term conditions, such as chronic pain.

When looking at population level indicators relating to mental health and wellbeing we include levels of common mental health conditions (such as depression and anxiety), together with concepts such as life satisfaction and happiness which are relevant to all people with and without a diagnosed mental health condition. Many wider factors (including housing, employment and early life experiences) can be impacted by and have an impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life:

  • Connect with other people
  • Be physically active
  • Learn new skills
  • Give to others
  • Pay attention to the present moment

The Bolton picture

In 2021, Bolton's BIG Wellbeing Conversation took place. This aimed to hear from people and communities across the Bolton area about what’s important for their mental wellbeing. The report of the findings is now available and action plan developed from it. Together we can make Bolton a place where everyone regardless of age, has good mental health and wellbeing, especially for those in communities facing the greatest levels of adversity.

Further useful links