Your family is (hopefully) your built-in support system. They cheer on your accomplishments and encourage you when you are struggling. They listen to you when it seems like no one else cares what you have to say. Family is your first social connection when you enter the world and will continue to be there as others come and go.
The mental health benefits of a strong support system are vast:
- Studies show that social support helps fight anxiety and depression by lowering stress.
- Talking about personal problems with a trusted family member helps you understand your own emotions. You are then able to brainstorm solutions together.
- Individuals are more likely to learn about and access treatment options in their community when people close to them introduce them to services
As with any relationship, it is important that you nurture your bond with your family if you want it to flourish. Just because you live with someone does not mean that you are spending quality time with them; in fact, you might be less likely to make plans with family members because you feel that they will always be there for you.
Make an effort to set aside designated family time when you can put everything else aside and focus on each other. Take a hike, visit with them, or just watch a movie together. Strengthen those roots! As a supportive family member, you can also encourage your parents, children, and siblings to take one of our free and anonymous online mental health screenings.