Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing describes how you are feeling and how you are coping in your daily life. Most people experience ups and downs in their lives, when their life is running smoothly and when something happens in life that challenges our ability to cope.  Mental wellbeing can influence the way in which people live with and manage Non Communicable Diseases (NCD), good mental wellbeing helps adopt healthier lifestyles and adopting healthier lifestyles improves mental wellbeing. Below is further information on what is mental wellbeing, current situation and benefits.

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) first introduced the concept in 1948, many different definitions of mental wellbeing have been presented. The concept is pertinent to a wide range of disciplines, all of which have a slightly different take on it relating to underlying beliefs, attitudes and practices. Whilst mental health terminology is not yet used consistently, FPH uses the term ‘mental health’ to describe the field which encompasses mental illness/disorder, mental wellbeing and all other states of mental health, (Faculty of Public Health, 2010).

The term mental wellbeing is essentially “positive” or “good” mental health and is closely linked to more general definitions of “wellbeing”. It has become used instead of the term “mental health” because the term mental health became so confused with mental illness. Using the term mental wellbeing enables us to communicate a distinct focus on the promotion of positive mental health and overcome the barriers that can be raised when the term “mental health” is used (Faculty of Public Health).

Current situation

In Wales 13 per cent of the adult population reported that they had a mental health illness in 2015 (Welsh Health Survey, 2016). The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports population Wellbeing by countries. Respondents were asked seven questions (on a scale of 1 to 5) from 'not at all' to 'all the time' known as the short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale. Wales scored 24.3 out of 35, compared to UK 24.6, England 24.6, Scotland 24.7 and Northern Ireland 24.9. (ONS, 2012-13)


Mental wellbeing is associated with a wide range of improved outcomes in physical health, education and employment, as well as reduced crime and antisocial behaviour including:

  • Healthier lifestyle and reduced health risk behaviour including reduced smoking and harmful levels of drinking
  • Better physical health 
  • Longer life expectancy 
  • Reduced inequalities 
  • Improved social functioning
  • Improved educational outcomes 
  • Reduced sickness absence
  • Better quality of life 

(Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health 2013)