Healthy relationships support good mental health, while social isolation and poor relationships can be risk factors for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Part of building strong relationships is having good, open, and regular communication. This can be done by sharing your thoughts and feelings with family, friends and trusted work colleagues.
Some people find sharing personal information a natural and easy thing to do. Others might need support from a health professional or community group in order to feel more comfortable opening up.
The quality of your relationships is just as important as the number of people in your social network. Good mental health is linked to having a supportive network that you relax and have fun with, as well as call on in difficult times. We can sometimes be so busy that we lose touch with others, but making an effort to stay in touch can have huge benefits.
Things you can do to be more socially active
Call a friend or family member for a chat or arrange a catch up.
If you don’t feel that you have anyone to call, reach out to acquaintances or neighbours.
Spend less time in front of the TV or computer screen.
Join networking, social, or special interest/community groups that meet on a regular basis.
Go to a market to shop
Don't be afraid to smile and say hello to strangers you cross paths with.
Take your children/pets to the playground/park.
Consider volunteering, which lets you help others, can boost your self-esteem, and is a great way to meet new people.