Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

What does health and wellbeing mean: personal perspectives

Provides an introduction to health and wellbeing in the context of disability
DEUS: According to the World Health Organisation, you find that there is a standard unit (definition of health) whereby people are physically and mentally and socially well-being.
BRANDON: I guess for me health and well-being has become quite a big part of my life because of the fact that I have so many more things to take into consideration on top of what an able person would take into consideration, such as general fitness or eating or whatever. With me, I mean, something as simple as white bread can immediately bloat me because of my lack of abdominal function. So taking things in consideration like that, how much fibre I take in, and that’s just to do with diet. And with training, I can’t be sitting for an entire day– or for two or three days– you know, days on end. I need to get moving.
If I spend the weekend just sitting around, by the Monday my legs are so stiff and so spasmatic that I’m continuously shaking, or my spasms are pulling me out of my chair, or my back is uncomfortable, or it could lead to things like pressure sores under my bum. So I constantly need to keep moving. And on a day-to-day basis, I try and get myself standing. If it’s in a standing frame, if it’s in parallel bars, in whatever way possible, I need to get that blood flowing so I can keep my lower limbs as healthy as possible.
RIDA: Everything. My focus in life is health and well-being. Because if I’m healthy and I’m well, I can do anything thereafter. A lot of issues around disability, it’s about health. It is how we take care of our bladder, for example. Other people take it for granted. And when I say others, I mean those that do not have disabilities. Because for me being well, I can do anything thereafter.
RICHARD: The ideas of health and well-being mean that I haven’t been a healthy boy– healthy guy– in my years of growing up because I believe health is more than just physical health. It’s also the mental health and the social health. And with my OCD and depression, I had the physical health, but I definitely didn’t have the mental or social health. And if one of those three components are not part of your life, then I feel you are very unhealthy. So I would say I’ve had a very, very– up until 2010, up until about six, seven years ago when I’ve been in remission– I’ve had a very unhealthy life.
But not on a physical level, more on a psychological / social level. My health and well-being has changed dramatically since being in remission in 2010 and being on the medication in that I’ve been able to achieve a lot more academically and professionally. I’ve been able to have a much healthier relationship with my wife, and a much healthier relationship with my kids– my two children– and a much healthier relationship with my extended family as well as my friends. Prior to 2010 when I wasn’t healthy, psychologically and socially speaking, I was recluse. I was isolating myself. And so since 2010, since the medication has come into effect, I’ve been a lot healthier in terms of my social and psychological well-being.
And that’s to do with interactions with people.
BENEDICT: I don’t think I would have a rather more appropriate or right answer. Rather to say, I think I try to be healthy by eating right food and just being positive.
DEUS: I believe what improves my well-being and health is what I do. You know, when you get to know your own challenges, you try to find solutions. You don’t sit on yourself. And you think the solution is fine with you. When you’re trying to find solutions, together with my family – not alone – That is why I told you the support you get in the beginning, it helps you so much. The positivity people give you, especially where you come from, it helps you so much.
EMMA: I need to take ownership of my own disability and what I can and cannot do. So– for me– if I don’t look after my body and look after my health, then I’m going to experience challenges. So for example, if I know that I’m going to go to a conference or a meeting, I need to make sure that I’m well rested before I go to that because I need to lip read all day. And that really takes a lot out of me. I get very tired. So, yes, it’s about managing myself.
CLEONE: I always say that my priority is– more than anything– is to be healthy because I know what it is like to not be healthy, to have almost faced death, and to really be sick in hospital, be ill. So well-being is really directly associated with health for me, ultimately. To have a good lifestyle, to be good within yourself, mostly focuses on your health. If you don’t have your health, you know, you don’t really have much of anything. And everything else goes if you don’t have health.

In this step, listen to people with disabilities from around the world sharing their personal perspectives about what health and wellbeing mean to them.

Deus, Brandon, Rida, Richard, Benedict, Emma and Cleone explain what health and wellbeing mean to them, sharing their personal experiences and perspectives.

Enjoy hearing their reflections, and remember you can respond in the comments section below if you want to share your own perspectives, thoughts or reactions after hearing their answers.

This article is from the free online

Global Health and Disability

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now