How happy is Brighton and Hove?

Posted On 27 Jun 2013 at 6:43 pm

Happiness is at the heart of the latest annual report of Brighton and Hove’s director of public health Tom Scanlon.

And Rottingdean looks like the place to be if you want a happy life. More than eight out of ten people living in the Rottingdean Coastal council ward who took part in a survey last year reported being happy.

In Brunswick and Adelaide the figure was nearer six out of ten and across Brighton and Hove it was just above seven out of ten, close to the national average.

Dr Scanlon’s report, Happiness – the Eternal Pursuit, with its echo of the United States Declaration of Independence, looks at sex and drugs and alcohol.

It also analyses the effects of smoking and physical activity on our happiness and touches on inequality, social inclusion and depression.

His deputy Peter Wilkinson gave a presentation about the report and its findings to the Brighton and Hove Strategic Partnership on Tuesday (25 June).

Unusually in a meeting of the great and the good in Brighton and Hove, Dr Wilkinson was warmly applauded after he finished.

His conclusions were

  • Levels of wellbeing and happiness vary considerably across Brighton and Hove
  • Drink, drugs, smoking and unsafe sex are all linked with lower levels of happiness
  • Mental wellbeing is steady but certain previously unidentified groups were at greater risk
  • Young children are drinking less but students are at risk as are some older people
  • Well-off people are now as likely to drink too much as the poor
  • Fewer people are dying after a drug overdose and drugs linked to clubbing have become more popular
  • Obesity is increasingly linked to deprivation
  • Gay men under 25 suffer the most sexual infections especially after drinking or taking drugs
  • Policy-makers, the NHS and other public bodies could help improve people’s health by addressing their happiness and wellbeing

The full report can be read online here.

 

  1. Ben Kidd Reply

    “Conclusions”

    Levels of wellbeing and happiness vary considerably everywhere in the world.
    Drink, drugs, smoking and unsafe sex are all linked with lower levels of happiness in some individuals, while these factors might make other individuals feel happier.
    “Mental wellbeing” is “steady” but certain previously unidentified groups were at greater risk (i.e. the still ignored, but rapidly expanding underclass…?)
    Young children are drinking less,..(but young children are still drinking).
    “Well-off” people are now as likely to drink “too much” as the poor. “Too much” is as subjective an appraisal as “well off”. Each individual’s metabolism, financial and pyschological state is unique.
    Fewer people are dying after a drug overdose, because more people are dying of starvation/exposure/hypothermia/suicide…?
    Drugs linked to clubbing have continued to become more popular. Recreational drug users are more likely to experiment with “legal” highs, which are arguably more dangerous than the illegal ones. This danger could be mitigated and indeed valuable tax revenues recouped, if we had a more sensible national drugs policy.
    Obesity is increasingly linked to deprivation – which indicates yet another catastrophic failure of our seemingly incompetent public health officials.
    Gay men under 25 REPORT the most sexual infections especially after drinking or taking drugs.
    Policy-makers, the NHS and other public bodies should help improve people’s health by reversing the disastrous effects of the so called “war on drugs” and this government’s ideological spending cuts.

    Personally, I would not have applauded the “conclusions” of Mssrs Wilkinson & Scanlon, as they are less than mildly insightful and far from helpful.

    I will make time for further analysis of the full report asap.

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