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27 September 2016

An interactive map showing happiness and life satisfaction levels by local authority area has been published by ONS, as part of its latest report on wellbeing.  It says wellbeing levels have plateaued in the last year, for the first time since the survey begain in 2011.


22 September 2016

Changes to national wellbeing, as recorded by ONS, are reported in the Mail and several other news outlets [but I can’t find any record of it on the ONS site.  Some wellbeing pages have been updated in the last week, but the latest report I can find is from July.]


07 September 2016

A guide to ‘Spreading Change’ in person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing has been published by Nesta.  It uses a framework of encouraging behaviour by making it easy, attractive, social and timely (EAST).  It is supplemented by a guide on supporting self-management, for helping people with long term conditions.


31 August 2016

The proportion of girls feeling unhappy with their lives has grown by 21% over five years from 11% to 14% between 2009-10 and 2013-14 according to the latest Good Childhood report from the Children’s Society produced in partnership with the University of York.  34% of 10-15 year old girls said they do not feel happy with their appearance.
Press release:
The report:


24 August 2016

There is a steady rise in happiness and mental health with age, without the dip in middle age found in other studies, according to research fromt the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, based on a random sample of 1,546 men and women aged 21 to 100 from the San Diego County.  The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.  As well as psychological wellbeing, the study also measured mental health including satisfaction with life and low levels of perceived stress, anxiety and depression.


04 August 2016

Most Britons would not be comfortable letting someone with a mental health condition look after their children or marry into their family, according to research by NatCen commissioned by Public Health England.  When given a description of symptoms of depression, 82% said they wouldn’t be happy having such a person look after their children, 64% wouldn’t be comfortable having them marry into their family and 35% wouldn’t feel happy having them as a colleague.  The research also found that 91% of people are confident they know what it means to have good wellbeing and 72% feel they know what to do to increase their wellbeing.,-friends-and-work-seen-as-having-biggest-impact-on-mental-wellbeing/


13 July 2016

An NHS trust has partnered with libraries in Staffordshire, helping to keep them open. Volunteers are now being used to staff libraries.  The trust has a five year contract with the council under which it receives no payment for running the eight libraries but keeps income from charges and provides two people to work on the project.  It sees it as a way to support people’s mental wellbeing.
Feature article:


11 July 2016

Happiness increased for each extra portion of fruit and veg eaten per day according to research from the University of Warwick and the University of Queensland, analysing the diaries of 12,385 adult Australians in 2007, 2009 and 2013.  The wellbeing effects were found to occur within two years.  The research is due to be published in the American Journal of Public Health.


07 July 2016

There has been virtually no improvement in happiness, anxiety and feeling that things are worthwhile in the last year, although there was a slight increase in life satisfaction, according to the latest wellbeing statistics from ONS.  It is the first time since the surveys started in 2011 that wellbeing has plateaued.  Men have now almost caught up with women in levels of happiness but women on average suffer more anxiety.


04 July 2016

A measure of individual wellbeing  which can be used to evaluate public policies has been proposed in a paper from the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York.  The measure would be years of good life, making use of data on income, health-related quality of life and longevity.


12 May 2016

A report looking at how policy can encourage higher levels of wellbeing has been published by the New Economics Foundation.  It combines contributions from City University London, the New Economics Foundation and the University of Cambridge.


04 May 2016

People are happier while drinking alcohol but it does not make them happier longer term according to researchers from the Universities of Kent and Sussex, publishing in Social Science and Medicine.  They used two data sets, a cohort study of people born in Britain in 1970, using responses at ages 30, 34 and 42 (10,107 individuals and 29,145 responses) and iphone responses on subjective wellbeing between 2010-13 (31,302 individuals and 2,049,120 observations).  Although large, neither sample is necessarily representative.  While there was generally no link between alcohol consumption and happiness longer term, after taking account of factors such as illness, where alcohol became a problem it did lead to feelings of lower wellbeing.


03 May 2016

A briefing on ‘early action’ (aka ‘prevention’) has been published by Community Links, with the New Economics Foundation.  It sets out lessons from the Southwark and Lambeth Early Action Commission which aimed to embed a preventive approach across the two Boroughs.


21 April 2016

People were happier when they had available cash in their bank account, but the effect lessened above £1,000 according to research by the University of Cambridge and the University of California Riverside analysing data from 585 customers of a UK bank.  This effect was found regardless of a person’s income, spending or total indebtedness.


14 April 2016

People living in urban areas had a 12% higher death rate than those with access to green spaces according to research from Harvard University assessing the wellbeing of 108,630 women, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.  Those in the greenest areas had a 34% lower rate of respiratory disease-related mortality and a 13% lower rate of cancer mortality.  Green spaces also reduced depression and boosted mental wellbeing.


07 April 2016

Making purchases that matched personality was associated with higher levels of happiness in research from Cambridge University which analysed almost 77,000 transactions by 625 people published in Psychological Science Today.  Spending categories were matched with the five main personality types: opennes to experience; conscientiousness; extraversion; agreeableness; and neuroticism.  Purchases were compared to personality types and those spending more on things that matched their personality tended to be happier.


23 March 2016

Britons are healthier, better off, less likely to be victims of crime and living greener lives since the recession, according to a wellbeing assessment by ONS.  There had been improvements in 17 of the measures considered, a deterioration in 8 and no change in 11.  Most of the improvements were in objective measures such as personal finances and the employment rate, while deterioration was more often in subjective measures such as satisfaction with health.  In terms of longer term sustainability, human capital is still below levels of before the financial crisis and natural capital shows a long term decline.


22 March 2016

A report on how people can take a more active role in their own health and care has been published by the Behavioural Insights Team.  The report, “Making the change: Behavioural factors in person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing” identifies five supportive factors: building self-efficacy and ‘grit’; removing small barriers to healthy behaviour; strengthening social connections; tapping into intrinsic motivation; and goal setting and feedback.


09 March 2016

Higher salaries were not associated with higher levels of life satisfaction according to research tracking 18,000 people over 9 years, asking them each year about income and satisfaction.  The research is due to be published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.  While a rise in income did not lead to a rise in life satisfaction a fall did lead to a fall in satisfaction amongst people defined as ‘conscientious’.

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