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OPINION

Health and Wellness: Your support system

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health
Perry Chief

A social support system is good for your overall health. A few trusted friends and/or family members you can turn to will help you manage everyday challenges and even major crises.

As many of us have found this year, a support system doesn’t have to be in-person contact. Reaching out to others via phone, email, or other technology can combat social isolation and loneliness. Feeling isolated is more than simply being bored or antsy to get out and mingle with others. Prolonged loneliness can put you at risk of high blood pressure, weaken your immune system, and progress to anxiety and/or clinical depression.

Everyone’s support system is unique. You may have one to 10 people who you call on for different reasons. Maybe your support includes someone you’ve known for years, and someone you recently discovered shares a hobby or interest. Perhaps your support system includes someone who lives far away – but you still stay close with phones and computers. (Thus the name social media.)

Assess your current support system and consider adding another person or two, especially persons from other generations. Remember that it takes time to build a support system, and that our circle of support evolves during our lifetime.