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New WHO-5 survey to help measure mental wellbeing of Southern Lakes communities

Joint media release from Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group and Public Health South, Southern DHB

New WHO-5 survey to help measure mental wellbeing of Southern Lakes communities
A quarterly one-minute ‘mood check’ survey launches today to help measure the ongoing wellbeing of communities across the Southern Lakes region.

The Who-5 survey has been developed by the Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group and Southern DHB’s public health unit, Public Health South.

It’s based on the five-item World Health Organisation WellBeing Index (WHO-5), an internationally recognised, widely used tool for assessing mental wellbeing.

The results of the quarterly survey aim to help communities and support services across the region (Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Fiordland) better understand how people are feeling right now and whether current initiatives are having a positive impact on mental wellbeing. 

The first survey opens today to all Southern Lakes residents aged 9 years and over and will run until 24 December, 5pm.  It’s quick and easy to fill in – just go to to complete the five simple wellbeing questions.  Once completed, the user gets immediate feedback on how they scored based on how they’ve felt over the last two weeks.  At the end of the survey, users are also provided with some wellbeing resources.

The survey will run in December, March, June and September.  It is completely anonymous and all data will be collated and held securely by Public Health South. PHS will work with Te Hau Toka, a cross-organisational partnership focused on enabling and supporting community wellbeing in the Southern Lakes region, to study the findings and publish a quarterly report.

Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group Chair, Adell Cox, says the survey is a good “check-in” for people to track their personal wellbeing each quarter, while the collated data will help the health sector identify where more work needs to be done.

“We’re trying to build datasets to help us co-ordinate a picture of how people in different communities, ages and ethnicities are feeling across the region,” says Ms Cox. “The WHO-5 is a clinically and psychometrically validated tool which can be used to assess wellbeing over time or to compare wellbeing between groups.

“For example, the health sector may use this information to help plan their local services.  Public Health South is also keen to learn whether this type of crowd-sourced information can be used to develop a wider Wellbeing Index for the region like Canterbury has done since the 2011 earthquakes.”

Te Hau Toka and Public Health South are encouraging people across the Southern Lakes region to participate and make it part of a family, friend and workplace wellbeing check-in every three months.

“We’re keen to reach as many people as possible. For example, you could ask your colleagues to take a minute to fill it out in a meeting, to do it before an exercise class, or fill it in as a family at dinnertime.  You could even share it amongst your friends, both in-person and online,” said Ms Cox.


What is WHO-5?
The WHO-5 has a long and successful history of being used across a wide range of study fields and has been clinically and psychometrically validated.  It’s translated into more than 30 languages and it has been used in research studies all over the world.

The WHO-5 can be applied to assess wellbeing over time or to compare wellbeing between groups. In New Zealand, it was used extensively by CDHB Community and Public Health from 2012 (following the Christchurch earthquakes) as a component scale of the Canterbury Wellbeing Index.

The questionnaire is scored out of a total of 25, with 0 being the lowest level of emotional wellbeing and 25 being the highest level of emotional wellbeing.

For more information, please contact