Take the WHO-Five Challenge
If you are a practicing mental health professional, DBSA challenges you to incorporate the World Health Organization’s 5-point Well-Being Index (WHO-Five) scale into your practice for the next six months. It only takes a few minutes to include this self-evaluation into a visit and we’ve made it even easier by incorporating the WHO-Five into the DBSA Wellness Tracker.
Why the challenge?
Often, traditional mental health scales don’t capture the entire picture—they measure how ill a person is, but not how well they are. An individual may have acceptable ratings on a traditional symptom scale and still have a significantly diminished quality of life—they may have poor family relationships, difficulty maintaining work, or simply feel that their life holds no greater purpose beyond existence. Conversely, a person may have some symptoms present, but feel that their life, while perhaps at times challenging, is fulfilling and meaningful.
If the goal of mental health treatment is to move beyond mere survival, we must, of course address the symptoms of illness, but not at the exclusion of a focus on building wellness—wellness that is defined by the individual and includes a broader view by shifting the focus to overall quality of life.
Take the Challenge
You can be part of the movement to shift the focus to wellness. You can start by making the WHO-Five a standard part of your practice—ask your patients or clients to rate how they feel on five simple questions.
DBSA has made it even easier by incorporating the WHO-Five Well-being Index scale into the DBSA Wellness Tracker, a free online and smart phone app that tracks well-being, overall mood, symptoms, life influences, medications, side-effects, physical health metrics, and more. Your clients/patients can bring detailed reports to each appointment—letting you identify potential concerns faster—so more time can be spent collaborating on a plan that meets your goals for addressing symptoms and your patient’s/client’s goals for wellness.
Why the WHO-Five?
DBSA chose the WHO-Five Index as the place to start for several reasons:
And because of all of the above, it's quite simply, a place to start. Some may debate if this scale or another scale is the best scale to address quality of life. Our answer to that debate is, “Use whatever scale you prefer … as long as it measures wellness.” The WHO-Five is a place to start. The DBSA Wellness Tracker is a place to start. The point is … to start.
The True Value
Of course the true value of any measure is what we do with it. DBSA hopes the WHO-Five is used as a starting point to build a wellness-focused treatment plan that puts the issues that matter most to the individual front and center. Once those goals are identified, there are a multitude of self-directed programs or tools that are available to help a person create a plan—WRAP, Pathways, the DBSA Wellness Plan on FacingUs.org, and DBSA’s Living Successfully online course are all great tools to help your patients/clients start. But they need YOU to be on that journey with them, to offer guidance, support, trust, and the freedom to build a plan that works towards their goals for wellness.
Your Challenge Pledge
We’d love to know if you’re willing to take the WHO-Five challenge by incorporating wellness measurements like the WHO-Five into your mental health practice. Pledge to try it for 6 months to a year and let us know how it goes. We hope you submit a pledge, but even if you don’t, we hope you’ll consider incorporating (or incorporating more) wellness measurements into your practice.
Note DBSA will not publish your name anywhere on our site indicating you have taken the pledge, although we may reach out to you to learn more about your experience with the WHO-Five Challenge.
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