A great deal of the research into mental health and wellbeing that has been conducted over the last few years has resulted in psychology moving further and further away from the medical model. The British Psychological Society published the Power Threat Framework in 2018 and it is best explained by saying that the most helpful thing to ask a person in emotional distress is not “what’s wrong with you?” but rather “what happened to you?” Trauma and inequality are being found to be far more of an issue in terms of the causes of mental health problems than any chemical imbalance. Fascinating work has been done on Acute Childhood Experiences which indicates that multiple exposures to physical trauma, psychological trauma, and neglect can make a person far more vulnerable to negative health outcomes, both physical and mental. We also now know that members of marginalized communities are more vulnerable to experiencing problems around psychosis.
So, if I were to answer the question about how I would change the world I would say:
- I would like us to move to a more holistic approach to health that does not make distinctions based on any mental/physical split.
- I would like governments to realize that an effective approach to improving any nation’s mental health and wellbeing needs to involve tackling social inequality across the board.
It is always good to have an understanding of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. People cannot thrive if their basic needs are not first met.
The Workplace Wellbeing Academy’s framework for workplace mental health and wellbeing reflects this holistic approach.