Social Support

  • Friends, family, and peers are what make up a social support network.  You should take time to develop a social support network when you are not under stress.  It can be a wise investment in not only your mental well-being, but also your physical health and longevity to take the time to build a social support network.  You can stay healthier and live longer if you enjoy high levels of social support according to research.1
  • There are many different forms that support can come in.  Practical help such as gifts of money or food, sharing points of view, emotional support, and sharing information are the four main types of social support.2
  • It has been demonstrated that having a network of supportive relationships contributes to psychological well-being according to numerous studies.  You may benefit in many ways when you have a social support network including a sense of belonging, feelings of security, and an increased sense of self-worth. Whether you have had a bad day at work or a year filled with loss or chronic stress, a strong social support network can be critical to help you through.1

Social Support

  • One should surround themself with at least a few good friends and confidants, if they wish to improve their mental health and their ability to combat stress.  Some ideas for building a social network include volunteering, joining a gym, looking online, or going back to school.1   It’s unlikely that one person can provide all the support one needs, as different people in one’s life provide different kinds of support.2
  • In mental health and substance use problems, social support plays an important role.  There have been reported lower levels of social support in people living with depression than in others.  People living with depression have reported less contact with their friends, less satisfaction with their friends, having fewer supportive friends, confiding less in their partners, and experiencing lower marital satisfaction.2
  • Mental health or substance use problems like depression are likely to occur in those people who experience a lack of social support and feelings of loneliness, as they make people more vulnerable.  When people are experiencing mental health or substance use problems, they may pull back from others.  There can then be problems with social support and aggravated feelings of loneliness as a result of mental health and substance use problems. 2

References

1.Mayo Clinic – Social support: Tap this tool to combat stress. (23, July 2010). Having close friends and family on whom you can count has far-reaching benefits for your health. – Here’s how to build and maintain these essential relationships. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/social-support/SR00033

2.Here to Help. (1, January 2011). Wellness Module 3: Social Support. Retrieved February 7, 2012, from http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/skills/module3