Social support and connection to others are critical protective factors against suicide and suicide ideation. For example, this includes positive and supportive social relationships and community connections.
This is referred to as having a strong connectedness. As human beings, the level of closeness we feel to others enhances our quality of life and saves lives.
There are practical approaches that anyone can use to create social connectedness. Consider some of the following methods:
- Make a point of establishing, maintaining, and strengthening social connections. Having regular contact with others builds social connectedness. Set aside time and attention to develop and maintain these relationships. Create diverse social networks, have different types of people in your life, and be a part of a group with shared interests, values, and goals.
- Ideas for increasing social connections: Spend quality time with family and friends. Join clubs that provoke interest. Spend time in nature with other people. Volunteer at local organizations. Become involved in community centers and local organizations. Get to know your neighbors.
- Consider all the available support. Contact family and friends, community members, or local health care providers. In turn, offer support to others, but do not neglect self-care.
- Address the barriers that prevent social connections. For example, staying healthy physically and mentally, avoiding excessive technology, and finding a comfortable work-life balance.
- Stay connected to healthcare providers about concerns such as depression, stress, isolation, and loneliness.
Social Connections Benefit Your Health Significantly
There are numerous health benefits with strong social connections. It takes work and does not happen overnight, but the benefits are noticed immediately.
Being connected to others drastically lowers levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. It also strengthens the immune system, making people less likely to experience sadness and loneliness. Individuals also have a stronger resilience in adverse events and situations.
Additionally, it helps with memory and focus, creates better sleep, physical health, and higher self-esteem, and a person becomes more open and trusting of others.