Social Isolation and Mental Health: By Obaidul Haq, The Aga Khan University Karachi

“Friendship is a buffer”.  Social contacts are important for us in our life.  It helps us in getting support and empathy from others as well as provides us opportunities to discuss our problem and difficulties with others.  Others are important in one’s life either in the form of friends, coworker, neighbor, family, spouse or relatives.  They influence us in many forms and provide major support to us in difficult situations. Social relationships beneficially affect health, not only because of their supportiveness, but also because of the social control that others exercise over a person, especially by encouraging health-promoting behaviors such as adequate sleep, diet, exercise, and compliance with medical regimes or by discouraging health-damaging behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, or drug abuse.

Social isolation is the absence of social interactions, contacts, and relationships with family and friends, with neighbors on an individual level, and with society at large on a broader level so it is the phenomenon of non-participation [of an individual or group] in a society’s mainstream institutions. It is the lack of meaningful relationship. Social isolation can contribute toward many emotional, behavioral and physical disorders including anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, addictions, substance abuse, violent behavior and overall disease. Social isolation affects a wider range of people and influences the life of individuals in diverse ways including in the work environment, school and others. Social isolation has harmful effects for the functioning and well-being of individuals, and for unity and social cohesion within society. Personal quality of life is very much affected by being part of a social network. Some consider social isolation as a phenomenon of modern times where the introduction of technology and the changes of societal structure minimize the importance of social contacts. Others consider social isolation as “The Connection Gap” and explained that the changes in the structure of society are prime factors that increased the risk of becoming socially isolated.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

2 thoughts

  1. great work done! I totally agree to the point that social isolation and mental health illness are making a complex cycle and are leading to one other. however, i feel that being health care workers our responsibility is not only to provide and exhecute the strategies for socializing people but also to make aware the general population about the importance of interpersonal relationships so that, this issue could be resolved from its roots.

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  2. Its great to have an article that discusses mental health and social isolation. An Individual’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health is dependant on the connections that we share with each other. I work in a mental health program that trains volunteers to be mates to people with a diagnosed mental illness to reduce their isolation. I know from experience the profound impact this has the person with a mental illness when they have a friend to talk to and go out and do things in the community.

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