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
Barriers to Connecting
Tools and Strategies to Connect
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.
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.
More Social Wellness Resources
In addition, you may want to explore these resources from elsewhere in the community
- Social Wellness Toolkit from the National Institutes of Health Your Healthiest Self collection.
- Social Wellness resources for members of the military and their families from Military OneSource.
- Social Wellness Month: Building Support on Your Path to Work from the Social Security Administration.