401 Neighbors & Serious Mental Illness

Research by Kriegel, L. S., Townley, G., Brusilovskiy E., Salzer, M. S. (2019).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, M.S.

Do those who have a Serious Mental Illness (such as schizophrenia, severe bipolar disorder, or severe depression) feel rejected, socially isolated and lonely? Do they know their neighbors and feel they belong in their neighborhood?

Psychologists compared 230 persons with serious mental illness from an outpatient mental health center with 300 persons without serious mental illness examining their degree of feeling lonely and sense of community or isolation in their neighborhoods.

Those with Serious Mental Illness did report weaker neighborly relations and a higher level of loneliness with less sense of community. However, for both groups, regardless of the number of neighbors they felt close to, the higher the quality of the relationships, the less lonely and more sense of community they had.

Let’s all learn skills how to initiate brief, friendly conversations with everyone. Be neighborly! Reach out to your neighbors, especially those with mental as well as physical disabilities. Get to know each other! Even if you remain familiar strangers, give friendly greetings. You can decrease other’s feeling of loneliness! Showing warmth and connectedness, you can make a difference to others as well as to yourself!

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