Relationships in the 21st century: the forgotten foundation of mental health and well-being

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives, yet we can often forget just how crucial our connections with others are for our physical and mental health and well-being.

People who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier, and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. 

It’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but the quality of your close relationships that matters. Living in conflict or within a toxic relationship is more damaging than being alone.

As a society and as individuals, we must urgently prioritise investing in building and maintaining good relationships and tackling the barriers to forming them. Failing to do so is equivalent to turning a blind eye to the impact of smoking and obesity on our health and well-being.

This report explores relationships across the life course, why they matter and the importance of being part of a community.

Relationships in 21st century publication cover

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