What wellbeing means

Wellbeing is a broad term that covers many areas of our lives, and it can mean different things for different people. To better understand it, we asked young people what wellbeing means to them. 

Our Greater Manchester Youth Steering Group worked with the #BeeWell team to delve deeper into the meaning of wellbeing and build a well-rounded understanding of the term. They agreed that:  


Wellbeing is about understanding yourself and your emotions and feeling like you have meaning, purpose and control in different areas of your life.   


For them wellbeing is a moving target, and is about finding balance amid busy and complicated lives. It’s not just about feeling good, but it’s about understanding your emotions, looking after yourself and building resilience. 

Young people involved in #BeeWell across Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton also described wellbeing as:


Working with more than 300 young people – from our pathfinder schools – alongside academics and health and education professionals, we’ve now developed a better understanding of young people’s wellbeing. Our young people led discussions have captured important factors that influence young people’s wellbeing, and highlighted what makes them thrive.  


Building on these discussions, our research team has identified ‘domains’ and ‘drivers’ for wellbeing to help us better understand it. For most of us, it’s easier to think of domains as areas or categories of wellbeing and drivers as influences on wellbeing:

The #BeeWell survey reflects and measures these key ‘domains’ and ‘drivers’ for wellbeing to help us better understand them.

Find out more about the survey here.

Our understanding of young people’s wellbeing is research informed. 

Research suggests a rise in prevalence of mental health difficulties and a decline in young people’s wellbeing over the last two decades. 

The 2018 PISA study ranked young people in the UK fourth from bottom across nearly 80 countries, in terms of life satisfaction. This position also reflected the sharpest wellbeing decline of any country in the four years since the last assessment in 2015. 

NHS Digital reported a significant increase in probable mental health disorders among 5-16 year olds, from 11% (1 in 9) in 2017 to 16% (1 in 6) in 2020. And in 2022, we saw a further increase to 25% (1 in 4) 17-19 year olds with a probable mental disorder.

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