Resilience and public health

06 February 2014

New briefing paper, report, blog and animation available now.

What is resilience?

Resilience is a term increasingly used in reference to an ability to withstand stress and serious challenge. It is commonly discussed in relation to how best to prepare for major upheavals and challenges such as extreme weather, terrorism or other disruptions to day-to-day life.

However, for resilience to have relevance to public health it must provide a framework which enables individuals and communities to withstand challenges such as poverty, inequality, worklessness and other factors that endanger health and wellbeing.  

Briefing paper and report

Our latest briefing paper and its accompanying report explore the concept of resilience and its application within the field of public health.

Download the publications:

Concepts Series 12 - Resilience for public health: supporting transformation in people and communities

Resilience for public health: supporting transformation in people and communities

Our exploration took the form of a review of literature looking at existing research around what promotes resilient outcomes for individuals and communities.

The theme of transformation comes through strongly; of individuals and communities being able to adapt in the face of change. For people to flourish in the face of change, support is needed from their communities and those who make decisions about their communities.

The publications investigate ways in which the spheres of culture, the economy, governance and infrastructure can support the transformational capacity of individuals and communities.


Fiona Garven of the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) has written a guest blog for us on the ideas and concepts discussed in the reports


A five-minute animation, to introduce the concept of resilience and the importance of support for transformation, accompanies the reports and is available to view on our YouTube channel and also below: