Five ways to wellbeing: New applications, new ways of thinking

New applications, new ways of thinking

Latest: Read about Five Ways to Wellbeing during the Coronavirus crisis.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population.

They were developed by NEF as the result of a commission by Foresight, the UK government‟s futures think-tank, as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing.

This report presents the results of a scoping exercise looking at how the Five Ways to Wellbeing have been used across the UK since their launch as part of the Foresight report in October 2008.

The aims of this work are twofold.

1. To develop an increased understanding about the scope and potential of the Five Ways to Wellbeing as a tool to improve population mental health and wellbeing.

2. To review how the Five Ways to Wellbeing are currently being used by local and national agencies to help identify future opportunities.

The report outlines some of the arguments for a population-wide approach to mental health promotion and provides more detail about the Foresight report and the development of the Five Ways to Wellbeing. It maps findings from the scoping exercise against a conceptual framework and presents a number of case studies that illustrate different uses of the Five Ways to Wellbeing in more detail. It provides further information about the characteristics of activities and interventions using the Five Ways to Wellbeing and discusses the findings from this work, highlighting areas for future development.

This report was commissioned jointly by the National Mental Health Development Unit (NMHDU) and the NHS Confederation in 2010. The views expressed in this report reflect the research findings and the authors’ interpretation; they do not necessarily reflect NHS Confederation policy or opinions.

Check out NEF’s more recent wellbeing analysis.



If you value great public services, protecting the planet and reducing inequality, please support NEF today.

Make a one-off donation

£5 £10 £25 £50 £100

Make a monthly donation

£3 £5 £10 £25 £100