This work was part of the Young Foundation’s Mapping Unmet and Emerging Needs programme. The programme brought together a coalition of more than a dozen independent foundations and funding bodies to develop new insights into how social needs in Britain can be prioritised and met. This paper argues that psychological needs are a crucial and still relatively neglected lens for social policy.
It offers some ways of thinking about psychological need; synthesises existing research and considers how psychological and material needs relate to and interact with each other. It closes by posing some questions to help take this agenda forward.