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Social Supports and Your Mental Health

A strong social support system

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Your social support system is a group of people that you can trust.

Your social support system is made up of:

  • People you can talk to about what you think
  • People you can talk to about how you feel
  • People who help you with your personal care
  • People who help you in your home
  • People who you enjoy spending time with
  • People who listen to you
  • People who care about you

Your social support system is made up of different people.

Your social support system includes your:

  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • Acquaintances (people you know and see regularly, like your co-workers)
  • Support providers and doctors
     

A social support system can be especially important for people with developmental disabilities.

People in your social support system can assist you in setting and reaching your goals.

  • For example, they can help you with your IPP.

When you are facing challenges in your life, your social support system can help you to come up with ways to overcome your challenges and succeed!

Having a strong social support system is an important part of maintaining good mental health.

Your mental health is how you feel, think, and act in life.

  • Your mental health affects how you think about challenges and problems.
  • Making decisions, relating to other people, and handling stress are all part of maintaining good mental health.

You can maintain your mental health by being part of a support system!

Having people who care about you and who you feel comfortable talking to can make you feel happy.

You can also maintain your mental health by caring about other people and sharing with them.

  • Supporting others that need your help can make you feel good.
  • For example, you can cheer up a friend who had a bad day.

Social supports can also help you deal with difficult experiences.

If you can talk to someone you trust, you will find it easier to deal with problems.

  • If you are feeling stressed, sharing your feelings with your friends or family members may help you feel better.
  • If you are feeling sad or angry because you had a disagreement with a friend, your social supports can help you find a way to work out the problem.

Social supports can be especially important if you have a mental health condition.

For example, if you are feeling depressed, you may be able to use your social support system to improve your mood.

  • Talking about how you are feeling with your friends or family members may help you feel better.
  • Trying fun activities with people who share your interests may also help you to relieve your depression.

If you have a mental health condition, your psychiatrist is also part of your social support system.

You can tell her:

  • How you are feeling and how this is different from the way you normally feel
  • If you are having any thoughts that scare you
  • If you are acting in ways that you do not normally act
  • How your medicine is making you feel
  • If other people say that your behavior or mood has changed

It takes work to build a strong social support system.

Social support systems are not formed automatically.

  • We each need to work hard to form our social support systems and keep them strong!

You can build a strong social support system by:

  • Strengthening your relationships with the friends and supports you already have
  • Making new friends by meeting new people and trying new activities

You can do many things to keep your social support system strong.

You can make time for family and friends.

  • You can keep your relationships strong by sharing both happy and difficult experiences with others.
  • Your supports are also there just to have fun!

By talking and building your communication skills with your social support system, you can strengthen your relationships.

You can make good friends by being a good friend to others!

Good friends can:

  • Be available for friends when they need support
  • Share their thoughts and feelings
  • Listen and show interest in what’s being shared
  • Be kind and understanding
  • Respect the rights of others
  • Communicate honestly

You can add new friends to your social support system.

Making new friends can strengthen your social support system.

  • You can find people who share your interests by attending activities in the community.
  • You can ask your supports to assist you in finding and attending fun events.

You can include people who are like you and people who are different from you in your social support system.

It can be fun to learn about the lives of people who are different from you.

And, finding others who are like you can remind you that you are not alone!

You may be nervous about making new friends, but you can find support!

Meeting new groups of people and trying new activities can be scary for anyone.

Remember that you have strengths and positive things to bring to every friendship and activity.

  • What are your interests?
  • What other things do you have to share?

If you are nervous, you can ask your current friends or family members to attend new events with you and help you make new friends.

You can strengthen your support system by having lots of different kinds of supports.

Different people can provide different kinds of support.

  • For example, if you need someone to talk to about your day, you can call on a good friend.
  • Or, if you do not like the way your medicine makes you feel, you can tell your doctor or psychiatrist.

You can learn more about your social support system and mental health.

Last updated on Fri, 06/11/2010 - 18:06