Your social support network is the group of people you can count on, go to for support, and share what’s happening in your life. There are two types of support in your network:
Informal support comes from family, friends, your friends’ families, teammates, coaches, people at school, work or spiritual guides
Formal supports come from healthcare providers, school counsellors, peer support groups, and other professionals trained to help you with your mental health.
People in your social support network provide:
- Emotional support – empathy, concern, trust, love, acceptance, encouragement, caring
- Information – advice, guidance, ideas, opinions, and help in solving problems
- Practical Support – a ride, help with a project
- Friendship – connection and a sense of belonging
Having a strong social support network with healthy social connections is an important part of managing your mental health. Having social supports:
- Increase confidence
- helps you achieve goals
- Decreases the amount of time you spend alone
- Improves your brain function as you learn more about people and things
Healthy support includes:
- a relationship built on safety and trust
- a balance of how much you give and take from others
- you encourage and support each other
- you understand and respect opinions
- you can disagree and know it is okay to talk about your differences
- you both take responsibility for how your words and actions affect each other and the people around you.
Connection requires vulnerability and sharing.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. In the absence of connection, love and belonging – there is always suffering” – Brené Brown