No one can stay socially isolated forever without it affecting their well-being. But, in this pandemic, people are forced to stay at home as much as possible and limit their physical interactions with people — other family members, office colleagues, friends, etc. As such, a lot many people have begun to show signs of mental health issues, which is believed to be a natural outcome of complete isolation.
But now, a new study — published in the American Journal of Psychiatry — has thrown some light on the habits and behavioural patterns of people, which may have aggravated any existing mental illnesses, including depression. This information could be extremely relevant amid the ongoing pandemic.
It has been found in the study that maintaining social connections and having regular social interactions — like meeting friends and relatives — can actually reduce the risk of depression, and also impact the mood in a positive manner.
“Far and away the most prominent of these factors was the frequency of confiding in others, but also visits with family and friends, all of which highlighted the important protective effect of social connection and social cohesion,” Psychiatrist Jordan Smoller at Harvard Medical School was quoted as saying.
The findings have highlighted the crippling impact of what staying away from friends and family can have on a person.
For the study, the researchers used the ‘Mendelian randomisation’ method to understand potential factors that impact our mood and worsen it and increase the risk of depression. Factors like lifestyle, social life and even environmental issues were taken into consideration. When the researchers studied the data of 1,00,000 people from Britain, they found a link between watching television and an increased risk of depression.
While it could stem from a feeling of loneliness and emptiness, researchers said regular social interactions and confiding in friends and family members can lower the risk for depression. While it may be a difficult thing to do right now, but even calling up a loved one who is not physically present with you, can do wonders for your mental health.