It is important to explore key terms and concepts so that we have a shared understanding as we work towards improving wellbeing. Here are some important definitions that need to be clarified.
What is wellbeing
There are numerous definitions of wellbeing within the field of positive psychology. For the purposes of Break O’Day Council it is imperative that as we work towards improving wellbeing, we have consensus on what wellbeing is. The Wellbeing Lab, founded by Dr Michelle McQuaid, defines wellbeing as follows.
“Wellbeing is the ability to feel good and function effectively as we navigate the inevitable highs and lows of work and life” (The Wellbeing Lab, 2020).
What is community wellbeing
While wellbeing can be an individual pursuit, it is also created through the broader environment we live in. Public health researchers Wiseman and Brasher reflect this in their definition:
“Community wellbeing is the combination of social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political conditions identified by individuals and their communities as essential for them to flourish and fulfill their potential.”
What is mental health
It is important to understand that mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness, but the presence of something positive also. The World Health Organisation defines mental health as follows.
“a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (World Health Organization, 2003).
What is mental illness
Approximately one in every 5 Australians aged between the ages of 16 and 85 will experience a mental illness each year (Black Dog Institute, 2020). With approximately 45% of all Australians experiencing a mental illness during their lifetime it is imperative we have a clear understanding of mental illness is.
The Australian Department of Health defines a mental illness as:
“a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria.” (Australian Governmnet Department of Health, 2020).
Common forms of mental illness in Australia include anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Approximately 54% of people with mental illness do not seek any form of treatment (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014) which amplifies the role workplaces and communities play in supporting mental health and wellbeing.
What is positive psychology
Positive psychology is can be defined as the science of wellbeing with a focus on understanding what is good within us, within our lives and what makes life worth living (Hefferon, 2011). It was formally convened in 1998 when founder, Martin Seligman made his inaugural speech, deeming the time is ripe for psychology to reorient towards the most positive qualities of an individual (Seligman, 1999).
Positive psychology provides an evidence-based platform to help individuals, organisations and whole communities to improve wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more, this 5-minute video provides a simple overview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qJvS8v0TTI&t=4s
This wellbeing program aims to upskill local individuals, provide them with knowledge and support, and inspire them to integrate wellbeing into existing community activities. We will reengage local people in meaningful ways to promote connection, build resilience, and give our community the information and support they need to bring out the best in themselves and others.
You can find some more information in the FAQs Community Wellbeing Project FAQ
A three-year evidence-based wellbeing program to build capacity in Break O’Day community members to build connections, develop resilience and enhance wellbeing.
Wellbeing is the ability to feel good and function effectively as we navigate the inevitable highs and lows of life (The Wellbeing Lab, 2020). Evidence suggests that improving wellbeing leads to numerous positive outcomes including increased resilience and energy, better health and happiness, improved relationships and a higher productivity and earning capacity (McQuaid, 2017). In short, improving wellbeing of residents will have profound impact on every aspect of the Break O’Day community.
This pilot project is be grounded in the science of positive psychology and will be measured using the PERMAH Community wellbeing scale and a qualitative approach. Positive psychology can be defined as the science of wellbeing and aims to understand what is good in us, in life and what works for us to make life worth living (Hefferon, 2011).
Essentially, the objective of the project is to energise the community around the topic of wellbeing, provide skills and resources to improve their own and others wellbeing and then empower and support the community to create lasting change.
What we intend to do:
This project will be delivered over three years, with three distinct stages each year. The three-year program can be viewed as three independent funnels for community members.
Phase 1) Each year focus groups reach new community members to increase wellbeing knowledge, connections and inspire participants to engage with wellbeing.
Phase 2) Each year thirty individuals are selected to complete the wellbeing certificate and learn to apply the science of positive psychology to themselves and their community. (This is the neck of the funnel where less people are involved, relationships and learning are solidified and deep capacity is developed.)
Phase 3) Each year, thirty impact projects will be developed from participants in the wellbeing certificate. These projects will have a broad reach across our community and touch many individuals that would generally not engage with traditional mental health initiatives. Community members will also be invited into a Wellbeing Collaborative and in year two, a community wide appreciate inquiry summit. (This is the bottom of the funnel where projects and collaborations have the capacity to impact many more community members.)
1) To increase opportunities for community connection and create an inclusive and open forum to learn about and share experiences and ideas around wellbeing with 30 focus groups.
2) To improve community capacity to manage and build personal wellbeing and make positive and proactive choices.
3) To upskill between 80 and 90 community members with evidence-based wellbeing skills, resources and practical tools.
4) To support and nurture 90 community impact projects that will reach individuals from multiple contexts within the Break O’Day region.
5) To reach 15% of the Break O’Day population over three years and directly impact over 1000 individuals through focus groups, wellbeing certificate, participant impact projects and the wellbeing collaborative.
6) To enhance wellbeing literacy and develop a shared language of wellbeing across 15% of the community.
7) To inspire community members to come together and build a better community for themselves, their families and the next generation with 80 participants at the Appreciative Inquiry Summit in year two of the project.
8) To provide robust evidence through the PERMAH Community Wellbeing Scale and qualitative data that the project enhances community wellbeing delivered in a final report.
9) The creation of a wellbeing Advisory Team who will support and advocate wellbeing initiatives across Tasmania.
10) The creation of a wellbeing collaborative, with quarterly meetings and regular attendance of 10 passionate and inspired community members.
How you can be involved:
There will be lots of opportunities for community members to engage with the project. For example you could;
1) Get involved in a focus group to share your ideas about what you want to see in the community and how to bring it to life.
2) Participate in the wellbeing certificate. That’s a $4000 course we’ll be offering to community members to learn all about wellbeing and then support them to build their own wellbeing initiative for their community group or organisation.
3) Join the wellbeing collaborative to shape how our community promotes wellbeing and create activities or events that help to bring the community together.
Break O’Day Community Wellbeing Pilot Project – Working Group
The Break O’Day Community Wellbeing Pilot Project has come to life through small conversations amongst people who care deeply about creating positive change in Tasmania.
The project is a three-year evidence-based wellbeing program to build capacity in Break O’Day community members to build connections, develop resilience and enhance wellbeing. Essentially, the objective of the project is to energise the community around the topic of wellbeing, provide skills and resources to improve their own and others wellbeing and then empower and support the community to create lasting change.
Collectively, members of the working group believe that promoting and enabling wellbeing will create profound positive change. Our greatest hope is that when this project succeeds, we will have a thriving community filled with individuals who are passionate about building wellbeing, connected and empowered to create positive change at the grass roots level.
To support community members to get involved with the wellbeing project and develop the skills and knowledge to promote and enable wellbeing in the Break O’Day municipality.
Working Group Purpose
The purpose of the wellbeing project working group is to:
- Advocate for the project and gain community interest and engagement
- Provide the local connections and knowledge for the project’s success
- Ensure the local context is built into project components
- Moderate and respond to applications for the wellbeing certificate
- Support with local logistics, coordination, and event organisation and
- Support the evaluation of the project to ensure validity and credibility
Working Group Membership
The working group will have 8 – 15 members and include three official positions: Chair, Deputy Chair & Secretary. Working Group Members represent our diverse community and it is expected that all members take the time to read and understand the full project plan and develop a basic understanding of the science of positive psychology. Group members will offer their support and expertise to the project free of charge as required.
The chair will be the key point of contact for the project and liaise with the Break O’Day Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator and the Advisory Team Chair as appropriate.
In the first six months of the project the advisory team will meet monthly with frequency decreasing as needed thereafter.
All members are to ensure that project details, where required, remain confidential and attendees will declare conflicts of interest as appropriate.
If you would like to be a part of the Wellbeing Working Group Please complete the EOI form below and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with Wellbeing Working Group in the Subject line.
EOIs close on 22 January 2021