Behaviours relating to establishing social networks and support. Connectedness.
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Having a strong sense of connectedness to family, peers, school and the community has been shown to positively affect the health and well being of young people. Connectedness refers to the sense of belonging an individual feels towards people and places. Connectedness is a significant protective factor for good mental health, as it is crucial in establishing a positive sense of identity, enhancing resilience , creating a sense of purpose and forming networks that can provide support and advice.
Supportive relationships encourage healthy behaviour patterns. Groups of YP who feel they don’t fit in to their community, can experience feelings of loneliness, sadness, and alienation. YP who are unable to develop or maintain meaningful, positive relationships can feel isolated, have limited avenues of support at times of need and experience higher rates of depression.
Participating in peer activities can enhance YP’s sense of belonging and help create social networks, therefore protecting their health and well-being. In 2002, a general survey found that a 28% of YP aged 18-24 y.p. were actively participating in some form of volunteering. Participation in volunteering activities has numerous benefits for YP, such as:
Develop a sense of connection
Increase self confidence
Enhance personal skills e.g. problem solving and communication
Provide opportunities to meet new people
Support YP to be active and enjoy themselves
This helps to improve physical, emotional and social health for YP.
In 2004, the HILDA survey found that 90% of YP felt they had social support, however, 10% of YP reported having no one they could seek assistance or confide in when experiencing difficulties. Lack of social support is likely to have detrimental effects on the general health of YP with the effects of health problems such as anxiety and depression.