Health & wellbeing  |  18 Dec 2019

Quality of life ratings in the Greater Christchurch area are at their highest level in seven years, the latest Canterbury Wellbeing Index shows.

The Canterbury Wellbeing Index, published by the Canterbury District Health Board, uses data from many different local and national agencies, as well the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, to bring together information about wellbeing in Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakariri District.

Evon Currie, chair of the greater Christchurch Psychosocial Governance Group, says quality of life ratings have reached the highest level ever since surveying started, with over eight in 10 (86 per cent) greater Christchurch residents rating their quality of life positively.

“Greater Christchurch is going from strength to strength, with new developments helping contribute to a real sense of vibrancy. This, combined with the fact far fewer of us are still battling insurance and other earthquake related stressors, is contributing to overall improvements in wellbeing,” says Dr Currie.

While quality of life in Christchurch City has risen the most since the first Canterbury wellbeing Survey in 2012 (up 15 per cent to 86 per cent), overall there is very little variation across the region, with 89 per cent of Selwyn residents, and 87 per cent of Waimakariri residents, rating their quality of life positively in 2019.

Dr Currie says loneliness continues to be a significant issue amongst Canterbury youth, with 15 per cent of 18-24 year olds reporting feeling lonely or isolated always or most of the time in 2019. This figure is significantly higher than 6 per cent for the overall adult population. The 65-74 year age group has the lowest proportion reporting loneliness, at less than 2 per cent.

In a related finding, the 18-24 year old age group also has the highest proportion (16 per cent) who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down.

“It is apparent that we need to explore ways in which we can address loneliness among young people. Are we doing enough for our young people? This is a key question our community, and our policy makers, need to keep asking.

“Someone who is lonely, and who doesn’t feel there is anyone they can talk to, is vulnerable. As a society we all need to step up and ensure we are there for each other and no one falls through the cracks,” says Dr Currie.

The Canterbury Wellbeing Index contains 57 indicators across a diverse range of domains including education, housing, health and employment, and includes a separate section focusing on 19 Māori wellbeing indicators. The interactive Index website enables users to easily extract the information they are interested in.