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SDGs: Is Good Health and Well-Being Realistically Achievable?

CW: Suicide, Substance Abuse.

Good Health and Wellbeing

Good Health and Well-Being is the third of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). Its purpose is described as to:

"Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages" -

The government are looking to achieve this by:

  • ‘Improving reproductive, maternal and child health’

  • ‘Ending epidemics of major contagious diseases’

  • ‘Reducing non-contagious diseases’

  • ‘Promoting mental health and well-being’

  • ‘Reducing behavioural and environmental health-risk factors’

Whilst this all seems desirable and a necessary step to better overall living conditions on a global scale, there is little certainty on how exactly we get to this point. Facts and figures can only account for so much when putting plans such as these in place and so do we need to be more realistic about the extent human efforts can implement sustainable development goals?


Immense pressure is put on civilians by governments to comply with their action plans towards the future with the narrative it benefits us all greatly in the end. To what extent do we have a responsibility to partake in the promotion of the sustainable development goals or do we not have one at all? How achievable are they? While the majority of the seventeen sustainable development goals are broad, I think it is important to focus in on number three ‘Good health and well-being’ as I feel this is a phrase used so commonly in public dialogue or social spaces. In times when the world seems to be suffering a mental health crisis with gravity like never before alongside still seeing the renowned coronavirus pandemic, there doesn’t seem any sound reason not to comply with the aims of this sustainable development goal. We are internationally in need of some good health and well-being after all but some of the points of focus for this aim could be criticised as secondary to other more pressing issues concerning health and wellbeing that we should be investing time and resources to. The Global Goals encourage us to play a part in ensuring the success of the Good Health and Well-Being SDG, the tasks they set out for us are:

  • Donate big or small to support a chosen charity associated with Goal 3

  • Opt-in to be added to organ and tissue donor registers if you are not already

  • Get vaccinated and encourage the vaccinations of other family members

  • Donate blood

These all seem reasonable and quite simple tasks to take on but they’re also life-preserving tactics that have been implemented for many years already now. Maybe it is the case that the drive just wasn’t there beforehand to encourage a majority of people to partake but if individuals aren’t feeling the direct effects of participating, they’re less likely to continue doing it.

Mental Health Aspect

A focus on mental health is one of the subsections of the good health and well-being goal, this is very relevant to the current social situation with the overflowing cases of bad mental health. The National Health Service for the United Kingdom provides guidance on how we can improve mental health and well-being; this includes connecting with other people, being physically active, learning new skills, giving to others and being mindful. Declining mental health leads to significant preventable fatalities- the Sustainable Development Goals aim to reduce premature mortality rates through treatment and promotion of mental health well-being at a rate of one-third by 2023. Their records show that in 2020 there were at least 5224 suicides registered in England and Wales. Could you imagine how many of those could have been prevented if mental health and well-being had been a global priority earlier? Any goal that intends to allocate resources towards the promotion for a better standard of mental health is a positive one that everyone should get behind, mental health is something we all have whether its condition is bad or good. The World Health Organisation(WHO), through the SDG’s, stress the importance of investment in mental health for the sustainability of health and socioeconomic policies. As with WHO guidance the SDG’s aim to implement mental health policies and practices in all countries that are regularly renewed to protect those vulnerable and the close ones around them, substance abuse is a significant factor in these. WHO is critically outlining the connections between overly normalised cultural and lifestyle habits with the demise of mental health and well-being through the Sustainable Development Goals.

While there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals we all have a part to play in, like I mentioned earlier, Good health and well-being struck me for its relevance to current social discourse. If we are a self-aware enough society to recognise the issues and the areas that need attention, why would we not want to trust in the efforts of organisations enforcing SDG’s or at least take on their suggestions we can implement into our natural way of living!

For more information on how to improve your mental health and well-being, visit


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