Relationships are vital for everyone. Feeling connected to others in our life, either family, friends or other people in our community, is one of the most important factors of good mental health and wellbeing.
People affected by mental health issues, including families, friends and carers, often report feeling isolated and lonely. Being part of a family, having friends and feeling connected with others, is one of the most important things in life, but many people feel unsure about how to meet new people or make connections.
To feel more connected:
- identify your ‘ticket’ out of isolation: everybody has qualities and gifts, such as humour, generosity or wisdom, that will appeal to others and could help in making connections
- make use of your interests: what are you passionate about? Are there old interests that can be revived or new ones to try?
- extend an invitation: don’t wait for the perfect person or event to come along, ask people in your community if they would be willing to offer friendship or join you in an activity
- find bridge builders: identify people in your community who have good connections. Ask these people to introduce you to others
- broaden your horizons: look for ways to meet a wide range of people in your community. Focus on activities that involve getting to know others
- create routines: important connections can grow out of daily routines, such as the waitress who remembers your coffee order and then your name, or the bus driver who drives your route every day
- rekindle and nurture existing relationships: explore how current relationships can be strengthened. What more could you do to stay in touch?
- sample life: after some time out, you may be unsure of what you enjoy doing. Challenge yourself to try new things and step out of your comfort zone
- tap into community wisdom: brainstorming with others creates ideas and opportunities that you might not come up with alone
- draw your social map: identify the main people in your life to get ideas for starting points
- take your time: building a network is a gradual process and you can take it as slowly as you like. Even just starting to think about how you might connect is a great step
Remember, a community is not necessarily related to your suburb or postcode. You can find ‘community' with friends, colleagues, teams and other social situations.
If you need to talk, call our Helpline.
Learn more about:
- other things that might help
- causes and contributing factors
- mental illness
- support for families, friends and carers
- the importance of identity and belonging
- our peer education programs
- our community education programs
- our research on community inclusion
Remember, you are not alone. Hear stories from people who have been there.
For more information, please contact Wellways on 1300 111 400.