Well-being and Mental Health – an integrated policy approach

6 December 2021, 1.00 PM - 9 December 2021, 4.00 PM


Hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE), along with the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (ELS), this is a four-day virtual conference on the interrelationships between mental health and people’s economic, social, environmental and relational well-being. Experts and key stakeholders will take stock of existing work on the social determinants of population mental health, consider measurement challenges and examine lessons learned from integrated policy approaches so far.

Good mental health matters for well-being and for human flourishing. While mental health has come to the forefront of public debate during COVID-19, it already accounted for one of the largest and fastest growing categories of the global burden of disease prior to the pandemic. Successful strategies to promote good population mental health will need to take a holistic and people-centred view that recognises that the ability to thrive depends on the broader living conditions and quality of life experienced by individuals, families and communities. The need for a society-wide response has already been recognised in longstanding work of the OECD and others, such as in the 2015 OECD Recommendations on Integrated Mental Health, Skills and Work Policy and the recently released assessment of their implementation across member countries and the OECD Benchmark for Mental Health Systems.

The OECD is now launching a new project applying a well-being lens to population mental health, drawing on the different economic, social, environmental and relational dimensions of people’s lives highlighted by the OECD’s Well-being Framework, and building on synergies with the whole-of-government approaches to well-being now under development in a number of countries. In particular, this project will outline what is needed to improve the quality and availability of comparable data on population-wide mental health status, establish how well-being approaches can serve as additional tool for further policy integration, and help shine a light on areas where more work is needed.

This conference will bring together policy makers, leading academics, data producers and people with lived experience to deepen understanding of the interrelationships between mental health and people’s economic, social, environmental and relational well-being. It will take stock of existing work that considers the multidimensional drivers and social determinants of mental health; discuss how to overcome the wellknown challenges of measuring population mental health status; and examine what lessons can be learned from the integrated policy approaches to mental health promotion that have been put into practice so far. The conference outcomes will be used to inform the new OECD project on integrated approaches to well-being and mental health.

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