The World Health Organization (WHO) recently shared a report addressing the issues of social isolation and loneliness, highlighting the importance of fostering social bonds and connections for individuals' overall well-being. Loneliness and social isolation are widespread challenges that impact people across different ages and regions globally. These experiences have significant effects on our mental and physical health and the overall well-being of our communities.
Ideas for creating and maintaining relationships that promote social connection and belonging:
- Spend extra time with loved ones and close friends.
- If meeting up physically isn't possible, use phone calls or video conversations to maintain a connection.
- Consider joining a group, club, or class that shares your interests, such as reading, art, or sports.
- Take advantage of the outdoors by spending time with others in natural settings.
- Make a difference in your community by volunteering for local organizations or events.
What parents can do to promote social connections for their children or teens:
- Encourage and promote healthy friendships and connections with others.
- Help build strong and safe relationships with supportive adults, such as family members, friends, neighbours, and teachers.
- Engage in conversations with teens and children about negative influences or stresses that may lead to social isolation and feeling rejected or out of place.
- Watch for signs of loneliness and isolation and if necessary, seek help on your child’s behalf. Examples of these signs could include changes in sleep patterns or energy levels, or behaviours such as withdrawing from loved ones.
- If appropriate, communicate any concerns about changes in your teen’s or child’s social connections to a healthcare professional.
The way we connect and interact with our families, friends, coworkers, and fellow community members can affect how we feel and how healthy we are. For more information, email us at Mental.Wellness@northernhealth.ca