How Community Involvement Boosts Your Mental Health

How Community Involvement Boosts Your Mental Health

Do you know that volunteering offers mental health benefits? Have you considered community involvement as part of your recovery plan? Helping others in need and making a difference through community work provides purpose and meaning, which can be highly conducive to sustainable recovery and long-term wellness. Mental health experts at Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention highly recommend community involvement as you are on the journey of recovery.

Eight Dimensions of Wellness

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),  the concept of “wellness” has eight dimensions: physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, occupational, financial, and environmental. To be healthy in a well-rounded way means that a person flourishes in all these areas. 

These various dimensions of wellness are also interconnected with each other. For example, social and environmental wellness will certainly boost a person’s emotional wellness. The question is how to achieve social and environmental wellness. Apart from having a support system with family and friends, community involvement is another indicator of social and environmental wellness.

Mental Health Benefits of Community Involvement

Community involvement may take different forms. You may volunteer for a nonprofit or participate in a community event. Volunteering, for example, offers purpose and makes you feel better about yourself in a way that can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. 

Volunteering in community services can reduce stress because you are part of a charitable cause. By spending time in service with other volunteers, you may feel a sense of togetherness and appreciation for each other. Your interpersonal and communication skills will improve. Some nonprofit activities may require physical engagement, which can make you stay active.

Apart from stress reduction, community interactions may offer benefits to individuals’ sensory processing within the cognitive systems. In moving and helping during community activities, people regain a sense of control over their bodily and volitional movements. They are in the active sensing stage. In sum, community interactions can boost sensory and cognitive health.

If you have not recovered to the extent of assisting others, simply joining more community events will also help you connect with people. These can be joining a neighborhood cook-out or being part of a Back-to-School give-back activity. Simply being a part of a charitable cause can open your eyes to other people’s needs instead of focusing on your issues. 

Social Wellness Benefits of Community Involvement

Community services can open a door for you to explore and build new relationships. You may be able to make new friends based on some common interests. Joining a book club, a hobby club, or a hiking society are interest-based community activities you can consider. Some programs offer similar health benefits like experiential therapy because you can explore nature or specific outdoor sports.

With these exciting new relationships and areas of interest, you will regain a sense of belonging and renewal that lead to social wellness. What you do not want to do during mental health recovery is give in to social isolation and withdrawal. The world is big and there are so many new experiences to explore. You can pick which community to belong to. 

Connecting to Community as an Essential Life Skill

You can say that being able to connect with a community is an essential life skill. No matter what age group you are, community connections are how humans function. Without interpersonal skills to interact with others, you may soon experience another mental health crisis. 

While rebuilding your community involvement, some people prefer to volunteer virtually. There are certainly ways you can assist others virtually, but you need to also be aware of the negative mental health consequences brought by the internet. For example, research has shown that overusing social media may lead to behavioral addiction with mental health issues. 

Community Involvement Gives You a Fresh Perspective on Life

When planning community events and serving others, your focus is no longer on your own mental health problems. You will know different people groups such as the elderly or single mothers. You will hear stories of their different needs. You may use certain skills to help them. Simple tasks can make a difference, like gathering donations for a special cause or setting tables for a neighborhood soup kitchen.

When you see the needs of others and hear their stories, your world will become broader. When your heart goes out to someone in need, the power of compassion can also heal you toward making positive changes. Even better, you can get your family and friends involved in a charitable cause. 

Finding purpose beyond your daily needs can give you a new perspective in life. You will realize how many blessings you already have in life. No wonder people created the term “helper’s high” to describe the good feelings after volunteering. If you need help, Alter San Deigo Crisis Intervention has a team of experts who will support you.

When it comes to mental health treatment, professionals have a number of tools at their disposal, including medications, behavioral therapies, and other evidence-based modalities. They also support people in restoring their well-rounded wellness, including emotional, mental, and social wellness. If you want to find a team of mental health experts to support your journey of recovery, Alter San Deigo Crisis Intervention is your best choice. We provide both evidence-based and holistic treatments that treat the mind, body, and soul. Experience a high-quality continuum of care and a strong recovery community here. Call Alter San Deigo Crisis Intervention at (866) 986-1481 for whole-person mental health treatment today. Early intervention is key.