Aspiration & Wellbeing – The road we tak

Two girls at Handsworth Carnival in Birmingham

We all have aspirations whether it’s to have a nice home, get a good job or start our own business.  However, the achievement of our aspirations depends on a number of conditions that affect the way people see themselves, and the road that they choose to take.  Some of this is governed by how much individuals themselves are prepared do in order to get there, but a lot is determined by the social conditions in which they live, the parental and professional guidance they receive and the accessibility of help and assistance that points them in the right direction.

Good health and general wellbeing is also key to the having the motivation and ability to work towards achieving aspirations.  Wellbeing is about more than just the absence of health problems, it’s about high life satisfaction, a sense of control, having a purpose in life, a sense of belonging and positive relationships with others.  If you live in a deprived area or in vulnerable conditions, the odds of having a high level of health and well being can be stacked against you as soon as you are born.

According to the Marmot report Fair society Healthy Lives’ inequalities in health and wellbeing arise because of inequalities in society – in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.  In England people in the poorest neighbourhoods will on average die seven years earlier than people living in the richest areas.  The average difference in disability free life expectancy is 17 years.  So people in poorer areas not only die earlier but will spend more of their shorter lives with a disability.

One solution is having a satisfying job, research shows that being in good employment is protective of health and wellbeing, and unemployment can lead to poor health and other problems such as substance misuse and depression.  Getting into work for many is the key to reducing poor health and promoting mental wellbeing.  However, jobs need to be quality employment offering a decent wage; opportunity for work life balance and protection from adverse working conditions, and these jobs are scarce in today’s economic climate.

The Social Inclusion Process aims to engage with as many people as possible from professionals to ordinary people, in order to find out what we can do to help them achieve good physical and mental health, feel good about themselves, be able to set goals for the future and feel a desire to succeed in achieving their aspirations.

Photo by ron hollins

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