ACTIONS have consequences. Our choices (whether explicit or not) limit our futures. Every time we choose to do something, we are also choosing not to do something else. When we decide what we value most highly, we are deciding that we value everything else less.
The debate about the limits of financial indicators of progress has found its way out of the ivory tower and into our everyday lives. Some will be enthralled by the ‘GDP vs GNH’ battle; others will argue that increasing wealth – when accompanied by growing inequality – damages a society’s well-being; still others will call for our interest in financial capital to be balanced by a concern for social, environmental and cultural capital.
As today’s contribution to the growing debate I’ve two pieces of news for you: on the UN’s International Day of Happiness; and on the LSE study warning that the NHS treats mental ill-health as a ‘second-class’ illness at its peril.
What do you think?
By naming 20th March as International Day of Happiness the UN explicitly recognises that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.
Member States are being invited to observe the day in ‘an appropriate manner.’
How would you celebrate International Day of Happiness?
Meanwhile the London School of Economics and Political Science (the LSE) has published a startling report on how little the UK NHS does to alleviate mental ill-health.
‘How Mental Health loses out in the NHS’ uncovers ‘shocking discrimination’ against mental illness within the NHS, despite mental ill-health accounting for nearly half of all ill-health among people aged under 65.
The report’s chair, Lord Richard Layard, says: “If local NHS Commissioners want to improve their budgets, they should all be expanding their provision of psychological therapy. It will save them so much on their physical healthcare budgets that the net cost will be little or nothing.”
And with pressures on health budgets, and a growing interest in preventative spend; we’d all do well to take note.