According to Webster’s “wellness is “the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal” – sounds pretty straightforward, eh? Seek “wellness” as a goal, and you are, well. How does age, and ability, and gender, and income, and, ad infinitum, play a role in wellness, our capacity for it, our perception of it?
Wellness is not a new concept  – the conceptual roots and practical application can be traced to ancient cultures and their use of herbs, minerals, and plants. For higher education “wellness” began as “hygiene” and “physical education” and grew from the frustration of faculty with student cleanliness, risk behavior, and the like. More than ever, today, when we speak of “wellness” we connote the total package – mind, body, and spirit – and the optimum we each may achieve in functionality. In the mid 1970’s the National Wellness Institute was founded to support health promotion and wellness professionals, the “wellness wheel” further delineated dimensions of wellness, and generalized each to a broad array of fields of practice. In 1995 the World Health Organization (WHO) developed the notion of “health promoting universities”  in Europe, and that idea and subsequent organization has taken root, with several conferences and WHO Charters to establish standards and practices.
So, what is “wellness” and how could it relate to young people with bio-behavioral health issues, or who are in recovery after treatment? How does this relate to overall engagement, functionality, productivity? And, what are the economic realities of wellness from these varieties of perspective?