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James, O. (2011). David Cameron Should Measure Mental Health, Not Happiness: Measuring Happiness is Superficial. We Need to Address Why We are Twice as Likely to Be Mentally Ill as Our European Neighbours. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 5(2):vii-ix.

(2011). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 5(2):vii-ix

David Cameron Should Measure Mental Health, Not Happiness: Measuring Happiness is Superficial. We Need to Address Why We are Twice as Likely to Be Mentally Ill as Our European Neighbours

Oliver James

David Cameron's plan for a wellbeing index is certainly better than nothing. It reflects genuine convictions, shared by his chum Steve Hilton, and an awareness of valiant similar efforts by the likes of the New Economics Foundation. The Office for National Statistics is about to embark on this well being survey in April 2011. Respondents will be asked on a scale of 0-10 to answer the following questions:

ο    Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?

ο    Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?

ο    Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

ο    Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?

Paul Allin, head of the wellbeing project at the ONS, said he was confident the questions would produce robust results and that any bias in the answers would be ironed out across such a large sample.

‘We essentially trust people to give us the answers they give us and we will work with what they say,’ he said. ‘Ultimately, the project aims to create a set of results against which the changing health of the nation's feelings about itself can be measured.’

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