What is it about?

Our article explores how loneliness and social isolation impacts those with serious mental illness who are participating in Peer-run community mental health programs and services. We found that loneliness and perceived social support significantly impacted how participants reported the mental health status including the overall rating of their mental health and their self-reported frequency of bothersome symptoms. Those who reported not feeling lonely were more likely to report a higher mental health rating and less frequent bothersome symptoms compared to those who reported feeling lonely. Those who perceived greater levels of social support also reported a higher mental health rating and less frequent bothersome symptoms compared to those who reported less social support. However, frequency of attendance or interaction with others did not significantly influence one’s mental health self-assessment.

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Why is it important?

Those living with serious mental illness often face obstacles such as stigma, poverty, and discrimination that limit social connection and exacerbate feelings of loneliness. This can effect one’s assessment of their overall mental wellbeing thus impacting their path to recovery. Peer recovery programs that focus on building meaningful and supportive relationships are an important service in the continuum of care for those diagnosed with serious mental illness.


These findings show, not only the prevalence and impact of loneliness among those with serious mental illness, it also shows the importance of facilitating meaningful and supportive relationships. Peer supports who have gone through a similar experience are especially well positioned to help one discover how to forge relationships that are positive, fulfilling and supportive.

Trey Jenkins

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Social isolation and mental health: Evidence from adults with serious mental illness., Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, December 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/prj0000554.
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