What a difference a friend makes

It’s a big glossy website with lots of smiling people promoting an intervention for mental illness. Surely, drug company marketing you think? Actually, it turns out to be a US Government initiative promoting the importance of friendship in mental health and recovery from mental illness.

In the medical literature, friends and family are described as ‘social support’ and we know that social support is one of the biggest protectors against mental illness and one of the best predictors of recovery.

It’s probably one of the best studied aspects of mental health, and we know it has a significant impact on physical health as well. For example, it’s clear from the depression research that social support has a positive effect in a wide range of people and situations.

The website has resources on different types of mental illness, tips for helping people you know and information on getting further advice and support, all very well presented with video and audio as well.

Largely because you can’t make a profit from love and friendship, you don’t see it promoted much, despite it being one of the most effective ways of combating psychiatric disorder.

Hopefully, this website is part of a larger campaign to get the word out. Bravo!

Link to What a Difference a Friend Makes.


  1. Mark(p.s.)
    Posted December 21, 2007 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    I wrote of this on my blog http://psychsurvivor.wordpress.com/2007/06/24/funny-stuff/
    June 24
    I did not like it and neither did my first commenter “Laughing? I‚Äôm going to vomit. I just want Angela‚Äôs friend to eat that brownie so she‚Äôll shut up.
    I’d rather hang out with the so-called “mentally ill” woman any day.
    Good intentions, really bad script.

  2. Posted December 21, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I just think given the evidence obtained from the interaction among the three most general systems in us: the neural, immunological and autonomic (psychoneuroimmunology)is very the import a well formed network of social support (eg. family, friends…)to carry out and cope with a increasingly fast-paced and stressed modern life in the urban enviroment to prevent mental illness.

  3. scaramouche
    Posted December 22, 2007 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    As someone who’s suffered from depression since I was 17, I can testify to that! However, having depression makes it very difficult on maintaining relationshps. I have a couple of episodes a year, so that’s about 4 months when I find myself withdrawing from my friends and family, whilst craving their love and support at the same time. It’s not easy to be close to someone who’s depressed – I appreciate all those who’ve stuck by me and completely understand those who haven’t, as I can be a right pain in the posterior!

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