depression help online

Community support issues

The information provided on this page supports the Community section of the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory which you can complete online here if you haven't already done so.

Firstly, we all need to feel we are valued members of society.

It seems that feelings of isolation can take hold if we don't feel heard, seen, and valued.

Belonging and feeling valued is very important to each of us. Yet each of us experiences feeling valued and belonging differently.

If you completed the SHIFT-Depression®Inventory, your score in the Community area will reflect how you are connected into society and whether you have enough 'social support', and in turn feel you belong and are valued.

That is, if you have a high score in the Community area, you maybe experiencing isolation and feelings of alienation. There may currently be few opportunities for you to feel you belong, are valued and can make a contribution.

Are your relationships supportive?

Generally speaking our first family is where we initially experience our level of belonging and feeling valued.

If you experienced adversity early in life, this can leave you vulnerable to depression especially if this adversity was betrayal, neglect or abuse, or the death of a primary caregiver when you were very young.

Experiencing betrayal, neglect or abuse, can impact on your ability to feel safe and trust people in future relationships. Situations or certain relationships could feel familiar to what happened to you early on. This may make you feel very cautious and impact further by then limiting your ability to try belonging and feel valued in other groups or communities.

This area naturally interacts with the Relationships area and will be affected by whether you have people immediately close to you that you can confide in and trust.

Multiple communities or networks

Feeling as if you belong and are supported, is affected by the quality and number of groups or communities, including familial relationships, that we belong to.

The more communities or groups you belong to, the more opportunities you have to feel you belong and are a valued person or citizen. You will also have more options and chances to receive (and give) what is termed 'social support'. It's especially important to have social support for when life inevitably throws you challenges.

Generally speaking, we are part of several communities such as our school, college or university; sporting or hobby groups; job or volunteering groups; our second family we have created (if we have partnered or had children, and there may be your partner's family); book groups; gardening groups; and other social groups.

We may also be part of a minority group based on religion, ethnicity, or sexual identity. There is also the broader community and where we fit into it, as well as our neighbourhood.

Making changes

If you had a high score on the Inventory in the Community area, and even though it is hard when you're feeling isolated and unhappy, it is important that you reach out and make some new connections or join new communities.

It may be possible to make repairs or improvements in one or more current 'communities' and perhaps a friend or counsellor may guide you if you're not sure if it's possible or how to start.

Sometimes old associations have grown stale, or people that you liked have moved away. Maybe groups you're already in, have changed into something that you don't enjoy any more, or maybe you need to think about joining up with a group of people on some project that is quite different to anything you've done beforehand.

Maybe you simply need to move on from that job that isn't right for you, or a group that doesn't value your difference or you don't feel safe in; or any other situation where you feel like an outsider or that you don't belong.

There are wonderful people around who will value you and what you offer and it's worth persevering to find them.

Sometimes we find ourselves amongst the wrong people and if we stay there and do nothing, it can bring us down.

So instead of feeling defeated and isolated, be on the look-out for ways to increase the number of communities or groups you belong to so that you're not totally reliant on one particular group or certain individual/s.

Feel reassured and know that we all need to feel we belong, feel valued, and get support from people we can trust.

It does take a bit of work on our part though to make sure we have that safety net around us and that we experience more positivity than negativity in each community or group we belong to.

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Women’s Comments after using the SHIFT-Depression® Inventory

‘It stares you in the face, the reasons …why you became depressed!’

‘The questions are very clear. You go ‘Oh wow! …I’d forgotten about that (issue).’

‘Oh, I didn’t realise that was such an issue for me!’

‘That helps me understand some things now.’

‘It covers so many areas and connects things.’

‘It feels positive to think about what things could help me and gives me some direction.’

‘I feel more optimistic after focusing on what things might help to alleviate my depression.’


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