What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing is a broad term that covers a range of things, including quality of life, happiness, meaning and purpose. The term wellbeing can be used in different ways depending on the context.

The Commission’s vision, as outlined in Key Directions, is that the people of NSW have the best opportunity for good mental health and wellbeing and to live well in the community, on their own terms, having the services and supports they need to live a full life.

We believe we can all learn from and be inspired by the long-standing knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their approach to social and emotional wellbeing, which includes thinking holistically and collectively when considering what makes life good.


Social and emotional wellbeing is often described as the harmony of elements such as mental, physical, cultural, spiritual, environmental, social, economic, and political and ideological health. Exploring these aspects of wellbeing further is the wheel of wellbeing that takes into account different aspects of wellbeing including body, mind, spirit, people, place and planet.(https://wbcnsw.net/what-is-wellbeing/wheel-of-wellbeing/).

See the Wellbeing Collaborative’s language and definitions guide for more information on what wellbeing means.

What does community wellbeing mean?

Wellbeing at a community level is important for building resilience. Resilience is when a group of people or a community support each other through a crisis or change. 

Community involvement and support can improve resilience and help people tackle challenges and opportunities as they arise.

Being part of a community can positively impact mental health and wellbeing and provide a sense of belonging and social connectedness.

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales has been progressing several projects relating to wellbeing including:

  • The NSW Wellbeing Collaborative
  • Community Wellbeing Collaboratives
  • Showcasing community wellbeing through videos that show mental health reform in action, as part of the Mid Term Review of Living Well.

The NSW Wellbeing Collaborative

The Collaborative operated from 2015-2018 and was a group of Government and community-managed organisations which supported wellbeing initiatives, shared knowledge about wellbeing and promoted innovative wellbeing activities.

The Collaborative aimed to embed consideration of mental health and wellbeing across the design of programs and policies, and in workplaces and the community more generally.

Access resources developed by the NSW Wellbeing Collaborative here.

Community Wellbeing Collaboratives

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health has been supported by the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales to conduct a review of community wellbeing initiatives and to develop community wellbeing collaborative projects.

Learn more about Community Wellbeing Collaboratives that  build mental health, wellbeing and resilience in rural communities.

Showcasing community wellbeing

The Commission conduceted a mid-term review of Living Well, the 10-year strategic plan for mental health in NSW in 2019-20. As part of this review we had the privilege of learning about and showcasing a variety of innovative initiatives and programs that are improving community wellbeing: