Why Community is Important to Your Mental Health
In the last year I have noticed that the word "community” has come up several times in
a podcast I listen to, and in books I’ve read. Specifically, why community is important to us as
humans. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), we are “social beings not meant to live in isolation”. We saw how true this statement to be during the height of the pandemic, when we were all in lockdown. It got me thinking about what are the benefits (to your mental health) of a community and how do you find a community if you feel you don’t have one?
Another word for community is togetherness. It’s the people and things you do that
make you feel accepted, connected, and supported. The benefits to your mental health, in
turn, are you have a sense of belonging, self-worth, and purpose. Because you feel these
benefits of a community, it can make pursuing mental health care easier, with less stigma
attached. There is security in knowing you will not be shamed or made to feel less than for
seeking the professional help.
I want to offer some suggestions on how to find community.
What are your hobbies? - join a book club, cooking class or join a sports team
Where do you find meaning? – find a place where you can be of assistance and volunteer
What do you believe? – attend speaking engagements that align with your spiritual, religious, or political beliefs
Community is more than a word. It’s the feeling of connection. Dr. Brené Brown says, “I
define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen heard and
valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance
and strength from the relationship.” (Can you tell Dr. Brown is one of my favorites?!)
Let’s keep this going in the comments. Do you have any other ways to find community?
Do you like Dr. Brown’s definition of community?
I see you. I care about you. May you learn peace.