Bristol City Council’s Director of Public Health, Christina Gray, has published her first annual report, Investing in Bristol’s Mental Wealth. It looks closely at the concept of mental wealth, what it means for Bristol and sets out a series of recommendations for investing in mental wealth in a way that everyone can benefit. It also focuses on how coronavirus has and will impact the city’s residents and communities.
While the economic impacts of the coronavirus are slowly emerging, the report highlights that the mental and physical effects of this must also be taken into consideration. In particular, the potential effects of job loss, industry failure and the changing nature of education and work.
Physical and mental health can also be impacted by the experience of isolation and coronavirus has highlighted the importance of social relationships and human contact and how they represent a major opportunity to enhance the quality of life.
Christina Gray said: “This report was initially due to be published in March, but, as the coronavirus took hold, its publication had to be delayed. Coming back to it now, I can see that our focus on Bristol’s mental wealth is more important than ever before.
“We have learned a lot about ourselves, about each other and about the society we live in. Social capital and the value of connecting with others have become invaluable to so many, particularly after experiencing isolation and a lack of social contact during the lockdown period.
“We are very aware that there are many residents who have lost their jobs and who have struggled with their health and wellbeing during this difficult time and we want to be able to create opportunities so that everyone can benefit.
“Moving forward, Bristol remains a wealthy city, but what matters most is that we make Bristol a place where everyone can feel they belong and benefit, whether that’s socially or economically.”
Taking those concepts that have most been affected during the pandemic into account, the report sets out recommendations for how Bristol can invest in mental wealth going forward.
- Social capital - using relationships at all levels to contribute to collective wellbeing e.g. personal relationships, social network support, civic engagement and trust and cooperative norms
- Culture capital – while it offers jobs and revenue, taking part in the vast cultural opportunities in Bristol can also have a positive effect on wellbeing
- Communities – thriving communities grow social, economic and democratic capital. The greater the participation and engagement, the more people are involved, the more energy the community has
- Work – it provides people with an income, a sense of fulfilment and is part of a person’s identity
- Urban design – urban planning and the development of place impact on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of people in cities
- The future – Bristol is the ‘youngest’ city in the UK. The children and young people of today are the future carers, scientists, bus drivers, so now is the time to invest.
You can read the full report here: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/policies-plans-strategies/director-of-public-health-annual-report