A good social support system is important for our physical and mental health. The lack thereof can lead to loneliness and depression.
What is a support system?
In psychology, a support system refers to the network of people that provide you with practical or emotional support when you need it. They are the people you can lean on whenever you are in a tough situation. They are the folks you can trust, who improve your well-being and reduce stress and anxiety.
Benefits of having a support system
There are several benefits of having a support system:
- Provide emotional support: Your support system can help you to combat anxiety and loneliness. They can reduce the risk of physical and mental health issues including high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression
- Reduces effects of trauma: Good social connection can reduce the consequences of trauma and give you mental stability in times of crisis
- Helps you make better choices: The people you’re around influence your lifestyle and habits. This is why certain groups have a negative impact on your wellbeing, while others make your life better. It’s, therefore, important to consciously create a healthy support network of those people who impact you and your situation positively
How to build a support system
- Re-connect to family and friends: Start by thinking of your current and former social circles. Then, single out the people who offer the most positive but truthful advice and connect with them
- Accept help whenever it comes: Be open to the idea of asking for help for yourself or your baby, and accept such help if someone offers it
- Look for peer support groups: If you are facing a personal challenge, consider joining a peer support group to help take care of your mental health and connect with people who are facing similar issues
- Try new activities: Get out and sign up for new activities so you get to meet fresh faces. You might connect to people who will become members of your support system
Note that everyone’s support system is unique. Your support system can range from 1 to 10 people. They can include close family members or new people you’ve just met.
Thank you note
This article about support systems was made in collaboration and with the support of the Pranaiya & Arthur Magoffin Foundation — Better Well-Being for Parent & Baby.
Ketsupa Jirakarn (Mental health specialist) (1 August 2022)