A lot has been written about the importance of social connection in feeling good. Humans are social beings and most gravitate towards the company of others, it is one of the greatest determinants of mental health.
Accumulating masses of friends across social networks might help build some sense of connection, but nothing beats in-person contact with mates, relatives, or people you develop a rapport with from work.
Men who lack close friends are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as men who do not have close mates. In a 2014 study on men’s social connectedness, Beyond Blue said people with higher levels of social connectedness were less likely to develop depression and, if they did develop depression, they were less likely to experience persistent and recurrent episodes.
Yet they also found that it was common for men to go through a lonely period and to lose touch with friends as they got older, particularly between the ages of 35 and 54.
One call a day is all it takes, but if the address book looks sparse, consider joining a club or group, volunteering, or checking out what’s on offer from community centres.
If you think you, or someone you know, has a mental health condition, see your GP for a referral to a mental health professional.