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Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

The information below is taken from the Children's Society Website.

What is well-being?

Although definitions vary – and some feel that it is hard to define – there is broad agreement that well-being refers to the quality of people’s lives. It is about how well we are, and how our lives are going.

In our view, well-being may be best thought of as an umbrella term that can be measured via ‘baskets’ of indicators that together build up a picture of the quality of people’s lives. In this sense, measuring well-being can involve both ‘objective’ indicators – e.g. measures of health, education and poverty – and ‘subjective’ ones – people’s own assessments of how their lives are going.

Until recently, however, relatively little attention has been given to the latter. It was to fill this gap in our knowledge that we set up a programme of research with the University of York.

This research has developed a children’s well-being measure, the 'Good Childhood Index', which includes an overall measure of well-being as well as measures of ten different aspects of life that we know to be important to children’s overall well-being.

Why does it matter?

Measuring well-being is important because all children deserve to be happy with how their lives are going, and we can’t know if they are unless we ask them. Research into children’s well-being makes it possible for us to keep track of trends over time and variations in well-being between children, and to offer explanations for these differences.

Over the last few years we have been using our Good Childhood Index to regularly monitor children and young people's well-being, and we have been producing an annual state of the national report. This analysis can be used to inform policy and improve children’s lives.

We know from our research that children with low well-being are more likely to have problems in their lives including with their physical and mental health. It’s important for society as a whole that children have the right support around them - at home, at school, in their neighbourhood and beyond to make sure that every child has the opportunity to thrive.