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Friends - the best medicine

15 May 2017

Mental health
There is a saying that friends are good medicine, which means having several close friends is very good for your mental health and wellbeing.

“Sharing good times with others and being supported in the not-so-good times is what friendships are all about,” mental health nurse Cindy Foot says.

“Having and maintaining strong friendships is a great way to improve our emotional wellbeing as they provide support, connections and laughter which we know are important to good mental health.”

For some, making friends comes easily, while for others it can be a bit harder, but there are some simple ways you can become more social and make friends.

Identify your current friends

“Make a list of all your friends and family members who are supportive and positive and take steps to touch base with them,” Cindy says.

“It is easy to become complacent with our friendships so reaching out to a good friend with a phone call or an invitation to go out is a great way to start reconnecting.”

Make commitments

“There may be other people in your life you need to keep in touch with regularly, this could be your parents, siblings or long-term friends," Cindy says.

“Make a commitment to call, email or get together with them on a regular basis and distance doesn’t have to be a barrier any more, there are plenty of ways to maintain your connection including Facetime or Facebook.”

Reach out

“Find a way to make at least one emotional connection a day,” Cindy says.

“This could be simply by talking with a work colleague when you make a cup of tea or sharing lunch in the staff lunch room.”

Broaden your friendship circles

“It can be daunting to meet new people on your own, so it is often helpful to ask your friends to introduce you to their friends and expand your friendship circle,”Cindy says.

“Having an extended friendship circle means you have more opportunities to join in new activities.”

Join a gym, do a class or volunteer

“Joining in organised activities is one of the best ways to meet new  people with similar interests,” Cindy says.

"Volunteering at community events, or attending school functions can result in the forming of a new friendship circle."

St John of God Health Care
Cindy Foot - Director of Nursing
Cindy has been the Director of Nursing at St John of God Burwood Hospital since 2014. Cindy has strong involvement in the improvement of our services including revision of nursing care practice and the introduction of the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) service.