Social Wellness Month: Connect for Health

July is Social Wellness Month! Some people describe social wellness as one’s ability to effectively interact with those around them and to create a support system that includes friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others. Maintaining your social wellness can help you build healthy relationships with others, foster connections, and contribute to your sense of belonging with your community.

These positive social habits can help you build support systems and stay healthier. For people with and without disabilities, social wellness can be connected to physical and mental health, education and employment success, and community participation. By contrast, barriers to social wellness can lead to feelings of isolation, which can have negative physical and mental health consequences. In 2021, NIDILRR/ACL hosted a series of webinars on research into social isolation and loneliness in the disability community which highlighted some of these impacts.

Our Research In Focus series has examined some of the many studies from the NIDILRR community about benefits, barriers, and strategies to maintaining social connections with family, friends, and community.

Benefits of Connecting

Starting to Live a Life – Moving from Institutions to Community Living Can Be Both Challenging and Rewarding

Community Participation Can Boost Self-Determination for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness

Strong Relationships May Help Adolescents Adjusting to a Traumatic Brain Injury

People with Traumatic Brain Injuries Who Socialize Online May Be More Involved in Their Communities Than Those Who Do Not

People Caring for Injury Survivors May Benefit from User-Friendly Information and Support Groups

Staying Healthy and Connecting with Neighbors May Help People with Mobility Disabilities Stay Involved in Their Communities

Barriers to Connecting

Survey Offers Insight into Impact of COVID-19 on Community Living and Travel Behavior of People with Disabilities

For People with Mobility Disabilities, Stepped Entrances and Exits May Limit Participation in Social and Recreational Activities

For People with Psychiatric Disabilities, Neighborhood Factors May Affect Acceptance and Community Involvement

Tools and Strategies to Connect

A Helpful Bug in Your Ear: Covert Audio Coaching Shows Promise to Help Young Adults with ASD to Navigate Peer Conversations

New Findings May Offer Insight for Interventions to Strengthen Long Term Marriage Stability for People with Traumatic Brain Injury

Adults with Mental and Behavioral Health Disorders Describe COVID-19’s Impact and Resilience-Building Strategies Through Social Support, Emotion Management, and Self-Care

Urban and Rural Residents with Disabilities May Need Different Supports to Stay Socially Connected to Their Communities

A Group Teleconference Program May Help People Aging with Multiple Sclerosis Build Resilience

For Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury, Problem-Solving Styles Matter in Social Situations

The Internet and Social Media May Offer Valuable Support and Information for People with TBI

Can Social Media Help People with Serious Mental Illness Feel More Connected to Their Community?

For People with ALS, Social Media Can Be a Key Communication Tool to Maintain Relationships and Expand Networks

Resources from the NIDILRR Community

In addition, the NIDILRR grantee community has developed interventions, tools, and other resources which may help people with disabilities strengthen their social connections, benefiting their health, employment, and participation.

2022 Guide to Getting Out of the House (PDF) – a calendar of activities to connect to community from the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Community Living and Participation of People with Serious Mental Illness (TU Collaborative).

Why Mattering Matters – also from the TU Collaborative, this report talks about the importance of social connections and mattering for all people

Impact Feature Issue on Supporting Wellness for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – a journal from the RRTC on Community Living and Participation, features articles on the importance of friendships, community partnerships for health, and much more.

Social skills after traumatic brain injury and Social interaction after burn injury – research-based resource collections from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center.

Technology Use for Social Connectedness: Exploring the Experiences of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Family Members, and Professionals – a research brief from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies explored how wireless technology tools and software applications help people with IDD connect socially and the usefulness of these tools.

Supporting the Social Lives of Children of Disabled Parents – a webinar from the National Research Center on Parents with Disabilities examined barriers to socialization, strategies parents with disabilities can use, and approaches to help children of parents with disabilities with socialization.

Explore more research and resources from the NIDILRR grantee community on social wellness, isolation, and connectedness indexed in our REHABDATA database.

More Social Wellness Resources

In addition, you may want to explore these resources from elsewhere in the community

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