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Your Mental Health: The Importance Of Support And Community

December 8, 2016 - - 0 Comments

Mental HealthHuman beings are social creatures.  We are wired from birth to be social because it is necessary for our survival.  In times past, we grouped together in tight-knit communities, and we lived in multi-generational households.   Modern society, however, tends to favor independence and solitude, and while there is nothing wrong with those things, it becomes a problem when it results in isolation.

People who are forced into solitude will begin to suffer physically, mentally and emotionally within a short period of time.  Lack of social interaction in infants can result in severe learning disabilities and other problems.  We need interaction and community in order to thrive.

The Importance Of A Solid Support System

For people with mental health issues, getting support isn’t always easy.  Stigma and discrimination can lead people to isolate and avoid interaction, but this creates loneliness and can actually worsen symptoms.  In order to feel your best and manage your mental illness, it’s important to develop a support group of people you can count on.

Who Should Be In Your Support Group?

Your support group can consist of a combination of family, professionals, and peers.  Remember, though, support is positive and healthy, so people you consider part of your support system should be people who are compassionate, helpful, kind and educated about your mental illness.  If you have supportive family members, that’s wonderful, but family isn’t always the best choice.

Professionals include your psychiatrist, counselor, physician and social worker, if applicable.  One way to cultivate these relationships is to be open and honest with them about your symptoms and to  keep appointments.  Find and stick with providers that you trust who give you good care.  If you are in a mental health residential treatment center, the staff are a part of your support system, so it’s important to keep them informed and seek out their help — that’s what they are there for!

Getting Support From Peers

Last but absolutely not least, it’s important that you create and maintain relationships with your peers.  This isn’t always easy.  For so many people, the urge to isolate and avoid contact keeps them from developing friendships with like-minded people.  These friendships not only make life more pleasant, but they can actually help you stay healthier and manage your mental illness better.

You can meet people in groups, drop-in facilities and mental health treatment centers.  If you have ever been to inpatient mental health treatment centers, you have probably met people in groups that you relate with and have kept in touch with.  It’s always a good idea to ask staff what aftercare resources are available so that you can continue to get peer support after you leave treatment.

How To Nurture Your Support System

It’s easier with family and professionals, but more difficult with peers.  It sometimes feels easier to just stay at home, not pick up the phone and avoid going out.  This leads to isolation, though! Isolation means you aren’t getting support, which can lead to worsened depression and anxiety, as well as other symptoms.  Plus, it’s just plain lonely!

Reaching out isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.  Pick up the phone, meet someone for coffee, go to places where you know that you will find like-minded people to spend time with.  Mental health treatment centers often offer lists of resources where you can find support, as well.

Another way to build support and community is to be of service.  You can do this by volunteering.  Volunteering is a great way to reach out to others and helping people increases self-esteem and self-confidence.  It also gives a sense of purpose and allows you to get out and meet people.  If you are struggling with social activities, volunteering is a great way to get out there.

His House Rehab offers industry leading Mental Health Treatment Programs . We were founded in 1994 and we base our Drug and Alcohol Treatment programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one at (888) 681-4594.

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