The Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI’) newly released ‘Defining the Mental Wellness Economy’ report is the first study to define mental wellness as opposed to mental health and to clarify the key concepts and pathways.
This is also the first research to measure mental wellness as a global industry and to identify and benchmark its key sub-segments. The 115-page report finds that the global mental wellness economy is worth $120.8 billion, based on consumer spend in four markets: senses, spaces and sleep ($49.5 billion), brain-boosting nutraceuticals & botanicals ($34.8 billion), self-improvement ($33.6 billion), and meditation and mindfulness ($2.9 billion).
Mental wellness has becomes a new ‘industry bubble’ in the GWI’s Global Wellness Economy framework, capturing a crucial set of economic activities not previously included in the organisation’s wellness economy measurements. “Stress, loneliness and burnout were exploding pre-pandemic, and a stronger focus on mental wellness has been a cultural mega-shift these last few years: People awakening to the importance of integrative solutions including meditation, sleep and brain health, with businesses rushing in to offer all kinds of solutions. But mental wellness as a concept, and what constitutes it as an industry, has remained incredibly fuzzy,” said Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior research fellow. “Clarifying what it is, and delineating its business segments, is overdue. And while most mental wellness strategies are free – like spending time in nature or with friends – people increasingly seek non-clinical help in coping with everyday mental challenges, and that’s where the mental wellness industry comes in.” Katherine Johnston, GWI senior research fellow, added: “There is urgency to this research: Study after study shows how the human suffering and economic dislocations caused by the pandemic have ravaged our mental wellbeing. We’re excited to release this study because people are desperate for alternative strategies to cope, and we hope it clarifies how important it is to promote mental wellness–and how businesses, governments and individuals can all play different roles in addressing a growing crisis." Defining mental wellness vs. mental health The GWI defines mental wellness as ‘an internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect, and function. It is an active process that helps us to build resilience, grow, and flourish’. The report provides a comprehensive paradigm for understanding the difference between ‘mental health’ and ‘mental wellness’, impossible to replicate here. The authors propose a ‘dual continuum model’, in which mental wellness is a dynamic process of moving from languishing, to resilience, to flourishing. Key strategies for mental wellness fall into four pathways: activity and creativity; growth and nourishment; rest and rejuvenation; and connection and meaning. The mental wellness industry: what’s included and why This research is the first to define the mental wellness industry: ‘Encompassing businesses whose primary aim is to help us along the mental wellness pathways of growth and nourishment and rest and rejuvenation’. Within those pathways, it identifies four sectors coalescing to form an emerging market: 1) senses, spaces and sleep, 2) brain-boosting nutraceuticals & botanicals, 3) self-improvement and 4) meditation and mindfulness. These four segments were chosen because they’re the ones most closely identified by consumers and businesses as explicitly associated with mental wellness. It doesn’t include solutions that may be very beneficial for mental wellness but whose primary purpose is something else (e.g., fitness, healthy foods, arts and literature, pets), or anything in the medical arena (e.g., psychotherapy or sleep labs).
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