MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
Examines how investing in building and maintaining good relationships and tackling the barriers to forming them positively impact on mental health and wellbeing. The evidence shows that people who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. The paper looks at relationships across the life course and why they matter, focusing on children and young people, adults and later life. Higher rates of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have been associated with loneliness, isolation and social rejection during adolescence and similarly having few close relationships has been linked to higher rates of depression and stress in older adults. The report calls on national governments, public bodies and employers to promote good relationships and tackle barriers, including mounting pressures on work–life balance and the impact of bullying and unhealthy relationships.