Social, Physical, Emotional, Cultural and Spiritual (SPECS)
The following excerpt comes from the textbook CAFS Prelim Course, 2011, Mitchell et.al, pages 12-15. social needs
These relate to our need to have relationships with other people. To obtain optimal wellbeing, a person must have their social needs satisfied, such as by having a sense of belonging, love and support, connections with family and friends, and opportunities for intimacy. When our social needs of belonging, love, support and connections with friends and family are met, we are more likely to achieve social wellbeing.
Along with needing a sense of belonging and of connection to others, we also need time for privacy, personal reflection, relaxation and alone time. Too much socialising and not enough relaxation or privacy can have a negative effect on our wellbeing. A negative effect can also result from having too much alone time or feeling isolated from other people. For example, always being alone can make a person feel alienated, lonely or worthless. This can then affect their self-esteem and they might start to avoid social situations as a result.
These relate to our need for survival and health. In order to have good levels of physical wellbeing, people need adequate rest, vitamins and minerals for growth and development, clean air to breathe, water for hydration, protection from extreme weather, clean surroundings, housing in which to shelter from danger, space to feel comfortable and free, exercise for a healthy heart and lungs and medication to treat illnesses.
As people develop over the stages of their lifespan, or as their circumstances change, they will have more specific physical needs. For example, every person requires food to survive; however, specific nutritional needs might differ, depending on age. A newborn baby needs milk for nourishment and to build a healthy immune system, but as the baby gets older the need for milk is replaced with the need for solid foods.
Similarly, people who have a chronic illness or a disability might have specific physical needs related to their circumstances. For example, a person affected by multiple sclerosis might need specific medications, specialist health care, someone to help with daily tasks or a wheelchair for mobility.
These relate to our need to maintain a positive state of mind and feel a sense of purpose within the community. When people feel good about themselves and about what they can contribute to society, their emotional wellbeing will be high. Emotional needs include encouragement, love, support, self-esteem, independence, safety and security, and a sense of identity and self-worth.
Emotional needs also relate to people’s level of autonomy. This means how well they can take care of themselves and make their own choices. In order to obtain autonomy, we need to feel safe and secure in our environment and have opportunities for independence, self-expression and creativity. We also need education in order to learn how to make decisions, how to cope with stress, loss and grief, and how to deal positively with our emotions.
When people’s emotional needs are not met, their mental health may be affected. For example, a person who has low self-esteem, is not provided with encouragement, love and support from others and is not given opportunities to make his or her own decisions, may experience negative emotions such as loneliness, sadness or depression.
It is important to remember that emotional needs can change on a day-to-day basis and that a person’s age and personal circumstances have a major influence on these needs. For example, a person who has just experienced the loss of a loved one, separation, divorce or homelessness, will have different emotional needs from someone who is going for a job interview, starting at a new school, learning to drive or getting married.