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Policy challenges: Well-being as a priority in public mental health 

Policy challenges: Well-being as a priority in public mental health
Policy challenges: Well-being as a priority in public mental health

Felicia A. Huppert

, and Kai Ruggeri

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date: 17 October 2021

Taking a whole-population perspective, the chapter argues that improved well-being is the most important outcome of policy. Despite growing awareness of its importance, accepting the primacy of well-being has been a challenge within public mental health because there has been no uniform definition or measure, nor consensus on how to apply such a subjective concept across diverse populations. Confusion created by using terms such as happiness, or the continuing tendency to equate mental well-being with lack of mental illness, have created barriers to gaining widespread agreement on the importance of well-being in policy. In this chapter, historical approaches to defining well-being, issues of measurement, and evidence underpinning well-being interventions are explored. The chapter closes with a proposal on how best to consider well-being as an outcome, making use of the evidence in driving public mental health policy.

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