Mental Well-Being

The People Project



Just as physical health is more than the absence of disease; mental health is more than the absence of mental illness.

Numerous studies have shown that we can apply tools to retain our minds to focus on the positive and improve our well-being.

Everyone and every system has a role and responsibility in ensuring our collective Mental Health and Well-Being.

We all benefit when public and private organizations work together.

Everyone needs opportunity to learn and practice skills to manage life and engage in the world.

Skills to manage stress, find balance and focus, and engage socially, are critical components that should be cultivated throughout the lifespan in both formal and informal settings. Skills and experiences that help people feel valuable and engage in their family, community and economy are also critical.

Positive relationships are central to mental health and well-being.

Relationships provide meaning and facilitate skill development and feelings of belonging. Lack of positive relationships and isolation are detrimental. Positive relationships are not automatic; families and communities need information, resources, and other supports to help cultivate and sustain them.

Mental health and well-being happens in and through community

We can spread and protect mental health and well-being by building positive relationships, social connections and drawing on community and cultural assets.

Culture shapes our definitions and understanding of mental health and well-being.

It is OK and healthy for individuals and communities to have different perspectives on what it means to be well and how to achieve well-being. Culture is a source of healing, connection and strength.

Mental Well-being is More than the Absence of Illness.

Most of the focus of community-level efforts addressing mental health focus is placed on mental illness and its care. Being well, however, means more than not being sick; it includes all aspects (biological, physiological, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual) of functioning. Most experts believe it is not well represented by a single continuum – sick or not. Instead a second dimension that addresses how one feels is important.


The mental health challenges Cass and Clay counties residents face call for shifting the focus from being solely on illness, to promotion of well-being and flourishing. This requires using proven strategies with both adults and youth, and improving the quality of the environments where we all work, live, learn, and play. Numerous studies have shown that using simple tools can help to retrain our mind to increase feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. These tools can also open us to the possibility of greater social connections, improved sleep, enhanced memory and stronger immune system function. These characteristics typically develop over time but can be cultivated even in early childhood.


PERMA is an acronym that represents a model of well-being that includes five important building blocks of well-being and happiness:

  • Positive emotions – feeling good
  • Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities
  • Relationships – being authentically connected to others
  • Meaning – purposeful existence
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment and success

The People Project

In January of 2019, ReThink Mental Health and its partners will kickoff a yearlong effort focused on building individual and organization well-being through PERMA. It is entitled The People Project. Participating organizations will focus on one PERMA practice for individual and organizational use every two months.


Our goal is to create a community that flourishes, where employees learn resiliency skills developed by practicing positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.


The People Project is recruiting 15 organizations and asks for two representatives to participate from each organization in our 2019 pilot phase.

Mental Health Intervention Spectrum

Image source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


Questions or want to get involved?

Mental Well-Being

“The People Project” is bringing simple tools to individuals and organizations so communities can flourish by promoting health through happiness                         


“Building Compassionate Schools” to recognize the impacts of trauma and create an environment where all children can flourish.

Crisis & Treatment

Boosting the community-wide use of a common suicide screening tool to identify those at risk and to connect them with timely and appropriate care.

Recovery Support

Host quarterly “Recovery Roundups” to share knowledge of resources and to promote partnerships and networks that support a life in recovery