Social support is the information that we receive from elders, teachers, friends and relatives that gives us a feeling that we are loved and cared for, esteemed and valued, and part of a network of communication and mutual obligations. It is regarded as an emotionally satisfying aspect of life and is the most vital of all protective psychosocial resources. Social ties and relationships with others contribute to our social support. The support could be from parents, a spouse or lover, other relatives, friends, social and community contacts.
- Social Support can appear in many forms. It may come through tangible assistance, informational support, emotional support or invisible support.
- Tangible Assistance involves the provision of material support such as services, financial assistance or goods.
- Informational Support is providing information to help understand a stressful event better and determine what resources and coping strategies may be most useful to deal with it.
- Emotional support is the most important psychological support which reassures the person of warmth and nurturance, that he or she is a valuable individual who is cared for. This kind of support is when someone receives help from another person without being aware of it.
Social support is linked with mental, emotional and good physical health. Brain imaging studies have shown that social support is extremely important and effective for depression recovery. With reduced isolation and an increased sense of belonging & support, negative thought patterns diminish and it can have positive effects on various conditions. People who have difficulty with social relationships, such as those who are chronically shy, are at a risk for isolating themselves socially, yet putting themselves to greater risk for health problems. Social Support can also lower the likelihood of illness, speed- up recovery from other illness or treatment, and reduce the risk of mortality due to serious disease. There is nothing in life more satisfying and worthy than social support from various sources which enhances your overall wellbeing.