I think these results fit into the patterns I’ve seen in other research as well, whether you want to talk about younger people, or even older people.
“In a study published today in JAMA Network Open, the team led by Marie-Claude Geoffroy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill, reassessed the impact of the presence and awareness of social support, such as family and friends, as a safeguard against mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Their results indicate that young adults who perceived higher levels of social support – the feeling that there is someone who they can depend on for help should they need it – at the age of 19, showed lower levels of depression and anxiety symptoms one year later.”
Granted, they were quick to point out that the data was collected pre-COVID, so we don’t know if this has held true during the pandemic, and that’s fair. This year has been a whole different ball game for all of us. That being said, however, this is not the first bit of research to point out how we can ease the likelihood, and the severity, of some mental health struggles by simply supporting one another. That feeling that we are not alone in this, that we belong and are connected to other human beings, is a powerful force in our lives, and a powerfully negative force when it’s not there.
We have all the tools we will ever need to stay connected and supportive of each other, all we lack is the willingness to commit to it.