Handover | Issue 39 - July 2017

The recent launch of Te Pou’s Let’s get real e-learning module included content that has evolved and taken a fresh direction since Let’s get real first appeared.

There is a much more intentional focus on wellbeing approaches and holistic health. TheMHS keynote speakers for 20163 articulated some ways of thinking about being holistic and community focused, with robust values and attitudes.

As a result, the Let’s get real resources being launched this year are a remix of Real Skills styled through a three-pronged approach to learning: Engaging for Wellbeing (the e-module), Engagement Essentials and Values Informed Practice (paper-based resources available for download). Te Pou is pleased to have the Engaging for Wellbeing e-module and the Values Informed Practice Paper available. Engagement Essentials is yet to come. These resources have been designed to be useful for both people new to working in the New Zealand mental health and addiction sector and people who have been working in the sector for some time.

According to the UK Department of Health4, wellbeing is about feeling good and functioning well. In other words, quality of life. It exists in two dimensions.

  • Subjective wellbeing – how people think and feel about their own wellbeing, including their satisfaction with life, positive emotions and whether they feel their life is meaningful.
  • Objective wellbeing – is based on basic human needs and rights, such as enough food, warmth, shelter, physical health, the ability to get around, safety and education. It is measured by mortality rates and life expectancy.

A key lightbulb moment for me was learning about ‘wellbeing set points’, which specifies that, higher levels of wellbeing mean we are more resistant to illness, more creative, better at problem solving, more connected to each other and live longer. And that wellbeing levels are modifiable because 60% of overall wellbeing is a combination of genes, upbringing and our circumstances, BUT 40% of our wellbeing is determined by how we choose to spend our time and our attitudes.

So, why is a wellbeing approach so important?

  • Subjective wellbeing can add 4–10 years to a person’s life.
  • Wellbeing can protect against developing illness – those with a high level of wellbeing are more likely to recover and survive serious illness, this includes surgery.
  • Being a normal weight and perceiving yourself to be the right weight are both associated with higher levels of wellbeing.
  • Smoking is associated with lower levels of wellbeing.
  • Higher wellbeing is associated with fewer risky health behaviours among 15–17 year olds.
  • Excessive screen time is linked to lower wellbeing.
  • Happiness is contagious – a nearby friend who becomes happy increases your probability of being happy by 63 per cent.
  • Personal freedom and quality of government – how effective the rule of law is, levels of violence and corruption, effectiveness of government services and opportunities effects subjective wellbeing.
  • Caring about others rather than one’s self and a belief in God (or equivalent higher power) has a positive impact on subjective wellbeing.
  • Education has been found to be a virtually universal correlate of wellbeing.
  • A workforce’s wellbeing is important in its own right, it can improve the quality of work, people’s experience and health outcomes.
  • People want prompt, kind and compassionate care and they are aware of the influence the workplace has on staff behaviour towards them.

Check out Let’s get real on Te Pou’s website:


Let’s get real e-learning modules:

Values informed practice:

3. Robin Youngson – The heart of healing a compassionate approach to mental illness.
Arthur C. Evans – Beyond the black box, the transformation to a population health approach. http://www.themhs.org/resources/1444/keynote-webcast-beyond-theblack-box-the-transformation-to-a-population-health-approach
Joe MacDonald – Clarity and complexity, being a non-binary transgender person. http://www.themhs.org/resources/1446/keynotewebcast-clarity-and-complexitybeing-a-non-binary-transgender-person

4. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277566/