17 Jul 2015

Family relationships & safe communities critical to Aussies’ wellbeing

NAB’s Quarterly Wellbeing Index has shown that Australian wellbeing fell slightly in Q2 2015 edging down to 62.7 points (down from 63 points in Q1) despite improved happiness and life worth.

A special report on ‘the issues that define our personal wellbeing’ found strong family and personal relationships and a safe community rated highest as issues in influencing wellbeing.

Anxiety is still the biggest detractor of wellbeing – almost 40% of Australians rate their anxiety ‘high’.

NAB Economist Dean Pearson said: “Our Wellbeing Index is a measure of how people think and feel about their own lives in regards to life satisfaction, life worth, happiness and anxiety,” Mr Pearson said.

“While overall wellbeing doesn’t change that much, there is one concerning trend – we are getting more anxious.

“While wellbeing is typically higher for women than men, we have consistently seen that women in the 18-29 bracket have the lowest levels of wellbeing.

“A lack of time is attributed by young women as the greatest driver on their wellbeing, followed closely by events such as abuse and victimisation,” Mr Pearson said.

A philanthropic arm of the NAB Group, the MLC Community Foundation, is dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of Australians. Since 2008, the Foundation has invested over $7.3 million in not-for-profit organisations to assist various mental health programs, including more than $3 million to Lifeline Australia.

MLC Community Foundation Chair, Lara Bourguignon, said with one in five Australians impacted by mental health, research like this played an important role in helping better understand people.

“Understanding wellbeing provides important insights into people’s behaviour, helping to explain their underlying emotional state and needs,” Ms Bourguignon said.

“Research like this helps the MLC Community Foundation determine which areas of need we should invest in and mental health is certainly a priority area for us,” she said.

In response to the report, R U OK?’s General Manager, Brendan Maher acknowledged the importance of relationships in everyday wellbeing.

“The latest findings reinforce that for many of us, the connections and relationships that we maintain play a crucial role in positive wellbeing,” Mr Maher said.

“When we’re struggling with life, it’s often our informal networks, our family and friends who help get us back on track. If we’re isolated, alone or have broken relationships, that support might not be there,” he said.\

The full report can be viewed here: Q2 Wellbeing Index 2015

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