2015 Last updated: 05 Oct, 2015

There are many different definitions of resilience. Broadly, it is the ability to stay balanced or to deal with and recover from adversity.

Resilience is not something you are born with but something that develops over time.

Your resilience is determined by a complex system of processes, relationships, skills and attributes that all interact to help or hinder your response to difficulty. Everyone has some level of resilience, we all have some ability to manage life’s challenges, and everyone has their limits, no matter how resilient you are, no one is invincible.

Given this complexity, there's no 'one size fits all' solution to improving resilience. The things that are most relevant for you will depend on your upbringing, your experiences, your ideas, your friends and family and the community you belong to.

At VicHealth, we're interested in increasing resilience across the Victorian population in order to promote mental wellbeing and reduce mental illness. Our understanding of resilience is still being developed but for now we are focusing on three broad areas:

  • Encouraging personal strengths: things like self-esteem (how you feel about yourself), self-efficacy (whether you feel like you can do things), problem solving skills, intelligence etc.
  • Fostering supportive relationships: having people you can turn to like a nurturing adult or partner.
  • Creating positive communities: communities (e.g. at school, work, or your neighbourhood) where there are lots of connections, a sense of belonging, trust and safety.