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A social support system can be beneficial to your overall mental health. You may find that therapy helps more when you have additional people who support you in your journey to improved mental health. It is easy to incorporate therapy into your life and easier than ever to find a qualified therapist because of places like BetterHelp that offer online counseling sessions. 

Having a network of friends, family members, and neighbors has been shown to help improve mental health. It is important that you have people to reach out to in order to speak about problems and worries or celebrate achievements and triumphs. If you feel like you could benefit from more connections, then there are ways to easily grow your social network to provide additional support.

One way to grow your social support system is to find people that share the same interests as you. You can find groups on social media, sign up for a class, or volunteer at a local organization. You can also reach out to your existing friends and relatives more frequently. 

Additionally, a poor social support system has been linked to increased depression and feelings of loneliness. Social support is any resources that your social network provides to help a person cope with stress. Sometimes this may be financial assistance while other times it can be in the form of advice, empathy, or concern. 

Social integration is the participation in the social relationships of our lives. This means it is anything from sibling rivalry to intimate relationships. This provides us with a sense of belonging. Getting the most our of your social network does take some effort. Make time to spend with your friends, family members, and neighbors. Take the time to lend a helping hand regularly. 

There are a few different types of social support that may be provided by different members of our social network. Some people provide emotional support. This means that they will support you or provide comfort when you need it. This can be greatly beneficial to our overall mental health. They can help us cope with stress and manage loneliness.  

Instrumental support is the assistance that our social network provides so that we can take care our physical needs. Our support system may offer us a hand when we need it for a plethora of reasons. Some people may provide food or flowers, especially during times of grief. Some give us a ride to pick up groceries or medication. Some people offer financial assistance. This type of support can help improve your mental health by reducing the amount of stress that we feel about meeting our physical needs. 

Finally, informational support is when the people in our social support system offer guidance or advice to us. They provide us with information that can help us know where to go or make decisions about our lives. This can relieve anxiety that we have about difficult decisions or problems. 

The different people within your social network probably offer differing amounts of the three types of support: emotional, instrumental, and informational. For example, a neighbor may help you out with a ride to the store while a family member may give you a shoulder to cry on. An adequate social network will be able to provide any of the three types of support when they are necessary. 

Conclusion

A social support system can help us cope with stress, find motivation, and have support when making difficult decisions. It is important for us all to have a strong social network; however, it does not have to be made of traditional roles and interactions. Some of us may find adequate support from friends online, while others may need face to face interaction. Some people may want more members of their social support systems, while others prefer stronger relationships with less people. 

Find what types of relationships benefit your mental health and stick to them. Offer the people in your social network the type of support that you may need in the future. Additionally, a mental health professional may be able to help you manage your relationships through therapy.