Around the world and in all cultures, the healthiest people belong to some kind of community or at least have close friends. Humans are meant to be in community and the degree of community we experience directly correlates with the degree of health we experience.
A healthy network of supportive relationships is essential for the health of all people. It provides a sense that we can trust and count on other people for friendship, emotional as well as problem-solving support, help with tasks, and physical or material assistance. An essential element of healthy social support is mutuality.
Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, a world-renowned researcher at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, sums it up well when he concludes, “A sense of belonging and connection to other people appears to be a basic human need, as basic as food and shelter. In fact, social support may be one of the critical elements distinguishing those who remain healthy from those who become ill.”