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.