The Pillars of Wellbeing are the core stabilizing elements needed for people and for communities to flourish emotionally. They were developed through conversations with participants in the Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys initiative. The Making Connections community sites consistently raised the importance of a set of value-based characteristics necessary for both individuals and communities to withstand stressors and build resilience.


BELONGING/CONNECTEDNESS – feeling part of a community; a sense of acceptance; belief that you are accepted as you are; having a place or group that is restorative or acts as a refuge

SAFETY – experience of security: interpersonally, emotionally, and with one’s surroundings; possession of a sense of stability

TRUST – belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of self and others; ability to count on the circumstances surrounding you

DIGNITY–sense of one’s own value; quality of being worthy of honor and respect; living in a climate of mutual respect and regard for all

HOPE/ASPIRATION – a reassuring belief that something better is possible and achievable; optimism that allows forward movement

CONTROL OF DESTINY/SELF-DETERMINATION – sense of purpose; the ability to influence the events that shape life’s circum-stances; ability to make and take action; agency

A key characteristic of the Pillars of Wellbeing, in terms of how they play out and influence behavior and experience, is that they interact with one another in a way that compounds their strength and influence on wellbeing. Importantly, they are experienced both personally and in the broader community environment. Pillars can activate resilience and contribute to healing for traumatized individuals and communities. In doing so, they facilitate an ability to navigate adversity.

For more information, see the Pillars of Wellbeing Overview and Slide Deck.