Young People and Well-being: Views from Britain. Dr. Jonathan Hadley 14 November 2011 House of Sciences Helsinki. Note on sources: Presentation based on UK’s Open University material ’Young people’s wellbeing’: http :// openlearn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=397505§ion=2.2
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Young People and Well-being:Views from Britain
Dr. Jonathan Hadley
14 November 2011
House of Sciences
Note on sources:
Presentation based on UK’s Open University material ’Young people’s wellbeing’:
in particular, content of slides 3, 8-11, 15, 18-25.
Additional material developed by presenter (slides 2, 5-7, 14, 16-17, 26-28).
Accompanying images independently obtained via thematic internet image search
”Top pay has been found to bear little or no relation to company performance, but even if it did, isn’t the performance of a company dependent on the work and wellbeing of all its staff? ...
... Among the ill effects of very large income differences between rich and poor are that they weaken community life and make societies less cohesive.”
The archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, on the ’scandalous unfairness of our society’ due to financial sector ecxesses.
Speaking in support of Occupy protestors camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral, London since 13 Oct.
(Reported in the Guardian, 5 November 2011)
(Image: Lewis Whyld/PA, Guardian 5 Nov 2011)
physical, mental & emotional HEALTH
(Generic policy term today)
physical, mental & social WELL-BEING
(from WHO definition of Health, 1948)
WELL-BEING as beyond medical: to achievement.
But how is SOCIAL being replaced by EMOTIONAL?
A DESIRED SOCIAL CONDITION?
(’HYVINVOINTI’: Welfare/Well-being as same?)
Both as ’good health, happiness & prosperity’
Welfare: external provision of care/money
Well-being: independent means of support
’Well-being’ = Laughter: a desired social condition
’Welfare’ = Misery: for those not doing ’well’
’The Bull’s Eye’ (1872) by Gustave Doré.
THE DANGEROUS ’WELFARE’ CLASSES?
Local Government Act 2000
(extended to Local Councils in 2009)
(via required ’Community Strategies’).
”To promote or improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area...”
Social model recognising role of socio-economic disadvantage in individual experiences of physical/mental health
IMPOSSIBLE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION?
FOREVER DISSATISFIED WITH CURRENT HEALTH
PROMOTING HEALTHY LIFE-STYLE CHOICES
WELL-BEING AS A COMMODITY
COMMERCIAL TARGETS OF WELL-BEING?
CHILDREN ACT 2004
Requires Children’s Services to promote the well-being of children (under 18 yr olds) via local statutory partnerships
’Well-being’ relates to:
Physical and mental health and emotional well-being
Protection from harm and neglect
Education, training and recreation
The contribution made by them to society
Social and economic well-being
Reflects five desired outcomes of the 2003 Youth Strategy
BEING HEALTHY: enjoying good physical health and emotional well-being
STAYING SAFE: being protected from harm and neglect
ENJOYING & ACHIEVING: getting the most out of life and developing the skills for adulthood
MAKING A POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION: being involved in the community and society and not engaging in anti-social or offending behaviour
ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: not being prevented by economic disadvantage from achieving their full potential in life.
21st CENTURY ’ASBO’ = 19th CENTURY ’YOB’
WELL-BEING AS POLICING ’WELFARE’ YOUTH?
The unfit teenager: over-weight, indoors, junk food.
Risky behaviour: sexual activity, drug use, binge drinking.
The anxious teenager: pressure to perform/get good job.
Narrates a general decline in young people’s well-being
POPULAR CONCERNS: ’THE COUCH POTATO KID’
Depression, eating disorders, addiction, self-harm, street violence – as seemingly endemic
Important to understand because:
Influences & impacts on young people’s perceptions of themselves and their behaviour.
As well as policy makers and practitioners over their health and behaviour.
Healthism: Well-being as gendered
Young women’s mediated pursuit of ’fit’ & ’thin’
Disadvantage: Well-being as a class issue
Ill-health in areas of disadvantage affects achievement
Mental Health: gender and ethnicty
Young men’s conduct disorder & suicide rates
Young black men suffer institutional/individual racism
Mental Health Foundation 1999
’Positive factors’ in reducing health risks:
Good communication skills... Sense of humour... Religious faith... Ability to reflect... At least one good parent-child relationship... Affection... Peaceful family environment... Appropriate and consistent discipline... Family support of education... Community support networks... Good housing... High standard of living... Sports and leisure activities... High morale in school (with a safe and disciplined environment alongside academic and vocational opportunities...) ... ... ...
Emphasis on personal skills or social environment
depends on political priorities of government
Prioritise tackling child
Poverty. Provide access to
education & employment
Reduce state spending
to encourage personal
competitive market skills
The neo-liberal ’healthy teenager ’ model
favours individualist over welfarist approaches
Emotionality (in schools programmes since 1990s):
Cultivation of emotively competent ’self’ optimises ability to achieve and contribute.
But risks individualising problem, away from social level.
Spirituality (Faith-based welfare initiatives since 1990s):
Powerful resource for people with mental health needs, promenant in multicultural societies for depression.
But can deny importance of healthy scepticism in adolesence
What of illiberal attitudes in some religions?
More conducive to passive consumer than political citizen?
Individualist interpretations of ’well-being’ contribute to a neo-liberal discourse of self-determination and responsibility.
This overlooks complex social power relations that shape they way young people are positioned and feel about themselves in society.
Be careful not to allow the term ’well-being’ to negatively and selectively redefine the term ’welfare’ as a problem in favour of individualism.
Be critical: challenge the social structures that selectively prevent the well-being of some sections of society more than others.
Politically campaign for social and institutional reforms to allow the promotion of well-being as both social prosperity and social justice.
Beware the constraints of neo-liberalism on the pursuit of social well-being.
Aim of the Scout Movmenent:
’The mental, physical and spiritual development of young people.’
Emphasis on self-reliance, personal achievement, community contribution.
Back to Edwardian Britain and concerns over young people, gangs and the future?
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, 1929.
Source: CIA world factbook 2009 via www.wikipedia.org (population pyramid)
accessed 24 Oct 2011
World’s ’7 billionth baby’, Danica Camacho. Born 31/10/2011 in the Phillipines. (Getty Images)
Global Wellbeing – Global Welfare
Source: UN Population Division via www.guardian.co.uk. accessed 24 Oct 2011