Chapter 18

Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Top of the Global Agenda

Eva Jané-Llopis

World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Peter Anderson

University of Newcastle, U.K.

Helen Herrman

University of Melbourne, Australia

Making a Serious Case for Wellbeing: From Rhetoric to Measurement

In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy eloquently argued:

the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotions to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.

Kennedy (1968)

Since then much debate has taken place as to the measures of progress, and wellbeing is now high on the global agenda with increasing support to the argument that societal progress can no longer be measured by profit alone. This new current of thought is growing and countries around the world are waking up to the value of health and wellbeing as a measure of progress, as also evidenced throughout this volume (see Chapter 1).

In 2004, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began its program to redefine progress (OECD, 2011a). The European Union followed with its program “Beyond GDP” (European Commission, 2009). In 2008, Nicolas ...

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