Here is good evidence that social support plays an important role in mental health or substance use problems. For example, people who are clinically depressed report lower levels of social support than people who are not currently depressed. Specifically, people coping with depression tend to report fewer supportive friends, less contact with their friends, less satisfaction with their friends and relatives, lower marital satisfaction, and confide less in their partners. It is likely that lack of social support and feelings of loneliness can make us more vulnerable to the onset of mental health or substance use problems like depression. However many of us will pull back from other people when we are experiencing mental health or substance use problems. In this way, mental health or substance use problems can lead to problems with social support and aggravate our feelings of loneliness. For these reasons, reconnecting with others in healthy, supportive ways is often an important component of managing most mental health or substance use problems. Intimate relationships with a spouse or partner are particularly important when it comes to well-being. For example, not having a close intimate relationship (i.e., a spousal type relationship) puts us at risk for depression. However, it is not being unmarried (single, widowed, divorced, etc.) that makes us vulnerable to depression; it is having a bad marriage! This is particularly true for women. Unsupportive relationships with our family (e.g., negative or overbearing attitudes and behaviors) have also been related to the relapse of symptoms in both schizophrenia and depression. www.heretohelp.bc.ca/publications/visions/housing…/alt/2 2007

SOCIAL SUPPORT is the physical and emotional comfort given to

us by our family, friends, co-workers and others. It’s knowing that

we are part of a community of people who love and care for us,

and value and think well of us. (Excerpt 2007Heretohelp.bc.ca)

New FoundMinds proposes a community where people are friends, friends are family and the support system is all-inclusive. So many of us take for granted the support we are provided by our friends, children, co-workers and many others whom cross our path. In reality we all need support, no one likes to be alone even mental health consumers, little babies or teenage boys and girls. Each of us has our degree of coping and because the stigma of being mentally ill has crippled a whole society of people, we are charged with not being able to take care. In addition, while that may be true with a little support anyone can be taught to be able to accept and work within his or her own degree of coping. Sometimes this can be done in conjunction with medicines and talk, encouragement and love. However, whatever it takes as communities we can live, work, and become sustainable.


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