The Importance of Support Systems for Mental Health

Solara Mental Health


It’s common to hear mental health professionals discussing the importance of having a strong network of social support.

There has also been research to show that social relationships are linked with a number of aspects of physical and mental health. Both loneliness and depression are linked with poor social support. There is also a connection between poor social support and altered brain function.

These changes in brain function can make people more susceptible to a number of different issues and conditions. These include cardiovascular disease, alcohol use, depression, and suicide.

Different Types of Social Support

The support offered by these networks can also offer a variety of different types of support. It’s good to have a varied support network. This is because different people can play different roles.

Emotional support can be people that are there to talk when you’re upset or have your back when you need support. This kind of support is specifically vital when you’re feeling lonely or during times of stress.

Informational support is the type of help that comes in the form of advice, mentoring, guidance, and information. Having informational support can help to reduce anxiety and stress around an individual’s problems. It helps them to feel like they aren’t alone in solving the issue they are facing.

Instrumental support is when you have people around you that will help you out when you need it. This might mean bringing you some soup when you’re ill or offering to carry your groceries when your back problems are acting up.

Having a social support system is known to be important for both physical and mental health. 

Increasingly, researchers have found that stress is linked with a number of serious health conditions. These can range from heart disease and obesity to reduced immunity.

There have been studies that point to the fact that a strong social support can reduce the consequences of trauma-induced disorders in times of crisis. People who have strong support systems tend to see themselves as being better able to cope with the stress of life.

Heathy Behaviors and Healthy Choices

When you are a part of a social group, you’re more likely to exhibit healthy behaviors and make healthy choices. The people you’re around can influence your habits when it comes to exercise, diet, drinking, smoking, and drug use. You want to be around people who will support you in your health goals rather than discouraging them.

Boosting Motivation

While having social networks is important for times of crisis, they also help to keep you stable during calmer times as well. Friendships can help improve your sense of self-worth and self-confidence, reduce your stress, increase your sense of purpose, and much more. On the one hand, having people to lean on in times of need is essential.

The Connection Between Healthy Social Lives and Longevity

There are regions of the world that have come to be known as “blue zones.” These are places where an unusually high number of people live for much longer than average.

While there are a number of theories as to why this might be the case, one notable factor that they all have in common is that they tend to be very social. This is particularly true on the Greek island named Ikaria. They commonly hold a series of 24-hour festivals that will have all age groups in attendance.

One study conducted as a part of the Global Council on Brain Health found that having social connections helps older adults stay healthier. The research both points to the protective nature of having social networks as well as the potential harm caused by isolation and loneliness.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why social support systems are important to your mental wellbeing. Not only can it help you deal with stress in face of the uncertainty of life, but it can also help to protect your physical health.

So, pick up that phone and get in touch with someone you love. Or, get out and try to join a new group of people with similar interests. It just might be good for ya’.


Finding people that can support you and help you make healthy choices can sometimes be hard since getting to know people and opening up to them may take some time, however perhaps this person may become you’re best friend in the future. Support systems can go beyond just family and friends, there’s no set equation to finding or creating a support system but having one can not only help you through hard times but can also make you healthier.

People often say, “you are what you eat” and that means since I don’t eat vegetables I am not a vegetable, but it also means by surrounding yourself with good people who support you for making healthy decisions and motivate you, can help you tremendously in attaining that goal you want to reach. Sometimes you just need to vent a little, or even a little guidance or reassurance, but when you bottle it inside it can cause anxiety and stress to build up which may lead to depression or even sickness.

There’s been studies where people that often keep to themselves, or even constantly holding onto a secret can affect not only their mental health but also the relationships around them. Being surrounded by supporting friends, families, coworkers can not only make someone happier but perhaps even live a longer life.