Increase Your Social Support
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Social support is a person’s network of relationships with people. It includes:
Health Benefits of Social Support
Social support often plays a role in health and well-being. It can help:
Other benefits of social support are having someone to:
Assess Your Social Support
Take a look at your current social network. Assess how happy you are with your relationships.
Number of Relationships and Amount of Interaction
How satisfied are you with how many relationships you have? Do you wish you could interact more or less?
Quality of Relationships
How happy is your relationship with family and friends? In the majority of these relationships, do you feel that you are:
How to Find Support
Work on Your Social Skills
Almost everyone can benefit from some social skills training. Consider classes, therapy, and books that can help you:
Get Involved in Groups, Clubs, and Classes
Get involved in community activities. It is a great way to meet people. Here are some ideas:
Get to Know Your Neighbors and Your Local Community
To get to know people in your neighborhood and community:
Take Some Risks
Meeting new people can be hard. Neither person knows the other or what to expect. Here are some tips that may help:
Join or Start a Support Group
Support groups are for people who share a common problem. Most communities have support groups. The groups may concern problems such as divorce, grief, parenting, alcoholism, cancer, and caregiving. Consider forming your own group. You can find resources at your local library or online.
Volunteers are needed almost everywhere—hospitals, nursing homes, charities, churches, and so on. Give your talents to a cause that makes you happy. Create your own opportunity.
Get a Roommate or Two
A compatible roommate can help ease loneliness and share some expenses. Ask careful questions to people who want to be roommates. If looking for a place to live, look for signs of friendly housing.
After relationships form, they must be maintained. This takes time and effort. Here are some tips:
Get a Pet
Pets can be great sources of support. They offer warmth, affection, and companionship.
American Psychological Association
Mental Health America
Canadian Psychological Association
Mental Health Canada
Depression in older adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/depression-in-older-adults. Accessed June 8, 2021.
Stress relief is within reach. American Psychological Association website. Available at: https://www.apa.org/topics/stress. Accessed June 8, 2021.
Social support: getting and staying connected. Mental Health America website. Available at: https://mhanational.org/stay-connected. Accessed June 8, 2021.
Seek the right kind of social support. American Psychological Association website. Available at: . Accessed June 8, 2021.
Last reviewed June 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 6/8/2021
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