Personal and social well-being describes a person’s state of mind, relationship with the world around them, and the fulfilment they get from life. It can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole. It is linked to a range of other outcomes, including mental health.
Well-being matters to the education system, in the health service, to parks and community spaces and in macro-economic policy. It is a concept that can be used to measure and evaluate outcomes across a variety of contexts.
Well-being is everyone’s issue as it offers a broad measure of progress by individuals and communities.
Well-being has been a pre-occupation of psychologists for decades but has recently come to the fore in debates around social policy in the UK and beyond. For charities, well-being has always been at the heart of what they do. The sector has broadly welcomed the emphasis on well-being as it lives them a richer language to articulate what they do, as well as new methods to capture ‘soft outcomes’. For example, NPC’s Well-being Measure is used by around 50 charities to measure and evaluate interventions ranging from outdoor activity courses to mentoring.
Broadly speaking, interventions around improving feelings of self might include counselling and one-to-one therapies, mentoring or challenging activities designed to take individuals out of their comfort zone.
ABOUT THE OUTCOMES MAPS
This is one of 13 outcomes maps produced by NPC in partnership with the SROI Network, Investing for Good and Big Society Capital. Each map examines a particular issue area or domain, and aims to document the relevant outcomes and indicators that are currently being measured by charities, government, academics and practitioners working in this field.