Recent updates: Wellbeing insights in Cleveland Lessons in centering community Viewpoint: Planning for wellbeing

Shifting the paradigm of how we interact with people

People experiencing interrelated issues of poverty, trauma, violence and oppression face significant barriers to wellbeing, and for many, lasting progress is particularly elusive. This is true despite the hundreds of billions of dollars we as a society invest annually in human services. What would it take for our systems to live up to their full potential of truly serving people?

Concepts like trauma-informed care, whole family approaches and social determinants of health have helped to advance a more person-centered approach in the human services field. However, we work within systems that are rules-based and constrained, where systemic racism and structural bias are ingrained and perpetuated.

When we use a wellbeing lens, we make progress that lasts

In order to foster authentic engagement in service of people, we need to do more than tweak individual policies or practices. We need new mindsets that fundamentally shift how government and human services interact with people and communities.

Our systems are often set up to decide for people what should be most important or what a person should do. This can result in forcing unsustainable tradeoffs that actually decrease wellbeing, making it harder for program participants to sustain change. However, by leading with what matters most to people, we can increase wellbeing in ways that last.

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Whole person, whole systems

Featured Resources

Engagement Discovery Kit

Have you been wondering how you can shift a traditional intake or assessment process to be more about co-creation and co-assessment? Or how to design your interactions to center on the whole person?

This discovery kit was built from the combined experience and knowledge of the Wellbeing Blueprint Signers Community, Missouri Alliance for Children and Families and the Full Frame Initiative. It will help you uncover where you or your organization is supporting or getting in the way of focusing on wellbeing in interactions.


How to evaluate the tradeoffs you may be forcing

If we recognize that we are all hard-wired for the Five Domains of Wellbeing, then we also need to recognize that all change — individual and structural — requires tradeoffs in wellbeing.

Utilize this tool to explore how policies, practices or rules in your system may be impacting the people you serve.


Make change in human services

With so many human services organizations making the move towards centering wellbeing, there is a great opportunity to make a broad difference. Here are a few ways you can start:

When a behavior is frustrating, ask two questions.

Which of the Five Domains of Wellbeing may be driving this behavior? What is the important piece of wellbeing that this person is holding onto?

Seek out and support community assets.

People can’t and shouldn’t be living in programs. Find out what informal assets exist in community and in people’s lives that can be supported and leveraged.

Explore the Wellbeing Blueprint.

Connect with a growing community of leaders, advocates and change agents to create durable structural and community change grounded in wellbeing and equity.