According to new research from The Australian National University, good neighbours are good for your health!
The research found that neighbourhood relationships and social connections protected people against loneliness, depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People generally are much less likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety and loneliness if they have positive perceptions of their neighbourhood social environments," lead author Dr James O'Donnell said.
"Neighbourhood cohesiveness is a really important social glue; it keeps us connected and supports our wellbeing in everyday life and during a crisis. Everybody needs good neighbours. It is good for your health."
The study, which examined the period prior and during the second COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, provides powerful evidence on the mental health impacts of lockdowns.
It found that if people perceived their neighbourhoods as being more cohesive, they were less likely to experience negative mental health outcomes.
"Our study shows social connections protected against loneliness, depression and anxiety," Dr O'Donnell said.
"Close-knit neighbourhoods and neighbours that trust one another, get along well and help each other can provide a really important source of social and psychological support."
It might be a good time to ask yourself how well you know your neighbours. If you don’t know them could you pluck up the courage to start making some connections? It will be easier than you think!
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