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Mental Well-being Impact Assessment


An introduction to the toolkit: how to maximise well-being potential and add value to programmes, projects, services, workplaces, and policies


There is no doubt that happier people and places are fundamental to achieving success in almost all areas of life and work. Individuals, communities, and employees who have positive mental well-being are more likely to be motivated, educated, creative, productive, and healthy. They contribute to the economy, to communities, and to their families. They are more resilient under all types of stress leading to less of a burden on services.

At an individual level, people with positive well-being are more likely to be able to stick to lifestyle changes such as being more active, eating more healthily, and stopping smoking, and are less likely to misuse drugs or alcohol or unintentionally get pregnant. At a community level, high levels of well-being lead to neighbourhoods where people trust one another, democratic participation and volunteering and lead to less antisocial and criminal behaviour. This means that there is frequently a strong business case for seeking to maximise mental well-being in whatever area of public, voluntary or commercial activity is being considered.

Virtually all areas of policy making, commissioning, and provision of goods and services are capable of producing well-being to at least some extent. It is usually worth seeking to maximise opportunities for producing well-being so as to:

  • Add overall value to what’s being done: improving the well-being of beneficiaries and staff increases the chances of meeting other objectives and targets
  • Reduce risks of adverse or unintended consequences

Mental Well-being Impact Assessment (MWIA) is a systematic approach to assessing how proposals, programmes, services, employers, and projects can capitalise on opportunities to promote mental well-being, minimise risks to well-being, and identify ways to measure success in achieving well-being. MWIA uses Health Impact Assessment methods but focuses on the factors that are known to promote and protect mental well-being:

  • A sense of control over one’s life, including having choices and skills
  • Communities that are capable and resilient
  • Opportunities to participate, eg in making decisions, through work
  • Being included: having friends, family, work colleagues

MWIA was developed in the UK but is in use globally. Many of the pioneering initial MWIAs were carried out in south London leading to the publication of the first Mental Well-Being Impact Assessment Toolkit. 


Would you like to know more?

logo PDF small Download the full MWIA Toolkit here, or right-click to save this document to your computer. 

logo PDF small Download the briefing document about the MWIA here, or right-click to save a copy to your computer.



The MWIA checklist

logo PDF small Please click here to open the MWIA checklist, or right-click on it to save a copy to your computer.

This checklist provides a quick framework to help people consider mental well-being in more detail when commissioning, delivering or developing a policy, strategy, service or initiative.  The checklist is developed from the Mental Well-being Impact Assessment.



How can we help?

Maudsley International(MI) aims to improve global mental health by sharing expertise with colleagues from all over the world. MI does this by providing access to a wide range of expertise through programmes that combine clinical, academic, managerial, policy, and intervention expertise to inform developments in other places.

  • We can provide information and introduction sessions to understand how MWIA is applicable to your needs
  • We can carry out an MWIA on your policy, programme or service
  • We can provide high quality accredited training and mentoring to enable you to undertake your own MWIAs

For further information on MIWA please contact Tony Coggins.

Telephone: +44 203 228 1688

Customer Challenge

  • How to deliver improved service outcomes whether that be increased educational performance, staff productivity or general population well-being in a cost effective and measurable way

  • Engaging stakeholders and creating a common understanding of mental well-being

  • How to integrate mental well-being into policy, programmes and services

  • How to measure impact on mental well-being

Our Solution

  • Undertake a mental well-being impact assessment to identify how to maximise positive impact and minimise negative impacts of a policy programme or service and measure those impacts.

  • Train others in undertaking MWIA

  • Offer consultancy, mentoring, support and advice

Customer Benefit

  • Engaging  a range of stakeholders, including beneficiaries/communities, to increase awareness and understanding of mental well-being

  • Identifying potential positive and negative impacts of a policy, programme or services on mental well-being

  • Creating a set of evidence based recommendations and an action plan for a project to enhance positive impact and minimise negative impacts
    Developing specific indicators (measures) of mental well-being for projects


MWIA has been extensively tested on over 700 policies, programmes and services including:
Major programmes i.e. Liverpool European City of Culture programme 2008 Community, housing & regeneration projects such as Time Banks, Schools & adult education Physical activity programmes Workplaces

It is cited as good practice in the UK mental health strategy  outcome framework (2011) and commissioning guidance for public mental

It has a high level of customer satisfaction:
“Provides very structured approach to understanding where service impacts and guiding how we should respond.”

Recently worked with Boxwood, a City based management consultancy (in the Times Top 100 small companies)

“Working with CEOs and their teams in some of the UK’s top companies to help transform their top and bottom line performance places a great deal of strain on all those who are involved.  The well-being of our people is at the top of the Boxwood agenda and we used the MWIA to help us to understand what we needed to do better to maximise staff well-being.  The work that we have been doing with the Maudsley Trust is making Boxwood a more sustainable business that is more able to support our clients.  The workshops and the report are practical, yet science based, and they have allowed everyone in Boxwood to understand just what matters to all of our well-being.”

Our services are provided by Maudsley International associates – health professionals, managers and researchers who work for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, and other expert organisations. Maudsley International is independent of SLaM and the IoPPN but has a partnership agreement with both organisations.

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