A successful intergenerational wellbeing approach transforms economic and political systems to serve a more holistic understanding of quality of life and collective wellbeing that benefits both people and the planet.

A wellbeing economy moves beyond the focus on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and economic growth as our primary markers of progress, shifting towards indicators that prioritise health, social and environmental outcomes for the people today and the generations of the future.

This is because the way communities feel about their life is increasingly at odds with headline economic indicators like Gross Domestic/State Product and inflation. The concept of wellbeing economies has been developed to address this gap. It is giving governments across the world a new way to think about social progress and target funding to make the biggest difference.

Benefits of a wellbeing economy
A wellbeing economy is designed with the purpose of serving the wellbeing of people and the planet first and foremost; in doing so, it delivers social justice and a healthy planet. A wellbeing economy is also about integrating wellbeing into every corner of Government decision making ensuring our leaders consider the long-term impact of policy on people’s lives and the planet. It could support people and policymakers with:
• Pursuing solutions that have holistic benefits for individuals and communities.
• Protecting our most marginalised people while also protecting the planet.
• Taking into account the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
• Addressing challenges that often fall between governmental departments.
Does a wellbeing economy help with mental health?
Yes, a wellbeing economy helps support positive mental health outcomes because, unlike traditional economic markers of progress like Gross Domestic Product, it defines the markers of progress as the things that serve the wellbeing of people and the planet (health, social and environmental outcomes for the people today and the generations of the future).

A wellbeing economy would naturally support investment in health (physical and mental) promotion, prevention and early intervention to enable people to live healthier lives and stop ill health in the first place. It would also support investment to properly support and care for people who already have ill health.

The built environment can have a critical influence on our community’s health. The development of safe, inclusive and supportive environments for all citizens is an integral aspect of a healthy, productive and well society. A wellbeing economy that more broadly seeks to change the whole of government and the way they regulate and invest in environments will lead to the support of our health and wellbeing. A wellbeing governance system supports the creation of walkable communities and active transport options, access to green space and access to healthy, affordable, fresh food all of which also support mental wellbeing.

Does Australia have a wellbeing economy?
In short, not yet. The Australian Capital Territory provides a good case study for how the initial stages of progressing a wellbeing economy policy are about establishing what really matters. VicHealth commissioned a wellbeing policy toolkit: