Studio Health attended the annual 7th Wellbeing Symposium. This provides an environment for business, communities and individuals to debate, learn and share information with experts on health and wellbeing from across the UK.
This year’s key theme was the link between the workplace and mental health. Rebecca George, UK Public Sector Leader at Deloitte put a price on the issue, citing the financial cost of poor mental health in the UK workplace as between £33-£42 billion per year. Other speakers shared evidence-based wellbeing solutions for the working environment, with a particular focus on prevention.
Dr Paul Litchfield, Chair of the What Works Centre, argued that income and good health are not the only factors, positive relationships with family and colleagues as well as the conditions and systems in our environment. Paul is optimistic that the mood is changing with employees and customers expecting and needing more. However, there is a lack of robust data on wellbeing and for arguments to be made this needs improvement. For further reading download ‘Global Happiness and Wellbeing Report 2019.’
A campaign that does have data at the heart of it, was presented by Shirley Cramer, CEO at the Royal Society for Public Health called Health on the High Street. This revealed the unhealthiest highstreets to be in the poorest communities. Shirley argued that public health must become more equal and fairer and that we need long term thinking similar to that of New Zealand, who under the leadership of Jacinda Ardern, now have a national Wellbeing Budget with Scotland and Wales reported to follow suit.
Communities and inclusion were a popular theme and speaker Craig Lister, Director of Green Gym, posed some interesting theories looking at the evolution of healthcare from bio-medical to nature and community arguing that wellbeing is improved exponentially by people engaging in fun and free outdoor sessions that data shows significantly reduces anxiety and stress in participants. Like Craig, Professor Kevin Fenton, Strategic Director for Place and Wellbeing at the London Borough of Southwark indicated that community is at the heart of wellbeing. Kevin shared innovative approaches to scaling health and wellbeing in local government with a particular focus on participatory programmes and how they create deeper value especially for community engagement. He argued that public health and local government need to maximise their priorities on health and wellbeing with a particular focus on inequality.
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