Our wellbeing is essential to our overall quality of life. But what is wellbeing? Why is it so hard to pin down? How is it different to mental health, and what can we do to understand, measure and improve it? We talked with psychologist and neuroscientist Dr Amy Orben, psychiatrist Dr Tamsin Ford, and welfare economist Dr Mark Fabian to try and get to grips with wellbeing. In doing so, we learnt about the negative (and positive!) effects of the pandemic, how wellbeing differs for children and adults, and the influence of ever-evolving technology on our wellbeing.
This episode was produced by Nick Saffell, James Dolan and Naomi Clements-Brod. Annie Thwaite and Charlotte Zemmel provide crucial research and production support for Series 2.
Amy’s research uses large-scale data to examine how digital technologies affect adolescent psychological well-being and mental health. She uses innovative and rigorous statistical methodology to shed new light on pressing questions debated in policy, parenting and mental health. She also campaigns for better communication of trends in data and the wider adoption of Open Science.
Amy is a College Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge.
Mark is a welfare economist working on the Measuring Well-Being project at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. His research focuses on the epistemology and ethics of well-being metrics, especially how policymakers and citizens understand well-being, its measurement, and the legitimacy of well-being policy interventions.
Tamsin Ford is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. She is an internationally renowned Child Psychiatric Epidemiologist who researches the organisation, delivery, and effectiveness of services and interventions for children and young people’s mental health.
Is there any ‘further reading’ you can suggest to listeners?
Public Mental Health Priorities from the Chief Medical Officer Annual Report.