Neighbour Day, Australia’s annual celebration of community, is taking place on 25 March. The #NeighbourDay campaign encourages us to connect with people who live in our neighbourhood. It is also a great time to look at the ways participation in social and community events boosts our mental health and wellbeing.
Neighbour Day – Why you should get involved
Neighbour Day promotes social participation, which is positively associated with improved wellbeing. Social interaction, physical activity and contact with nature all have positive effects on our mental and physical wellbeing. It can make us feel better and helps to prevent loneliness and social isolation.
The opposite can be said for social exclusion and loneliness, which studies have shown are detrimental to physical and mental health. People who lack social contacts are more likely to experience elevated levels of stress, with some researchers placing social isolation on par with high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise or smoking as a risk factor.
Neighbour Day – How can you get involved?
Good relationships with neighbours can transform communities. The goal of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
Neighbour Day brings together like-minded people and together we can grow stronger well-connected communities.
Some tips on how to get involved in your local community this Neighbour Day:
- Smile and say hello to your neighbours and stop for a chat.
- Ask if your neighbour would like to join you for a walk. Maybe start a neighbourhood walking group. View the Suicide Call Back Service Nature as a Healer article for more on the benefits of nature walking.
- Share produce from your garden with your neighbours.
- Swap a recipe with your neighbour.
- Offer to help a neighbour with small jobs.
- Having a barby? Invite the neighbours in!
For more tips visit the Neighbour Day website.
We are all social creatures who seek the comfort and support of others from time to time, and although socialising can be a daunting prospect for some, it is important to not become withdrawn.
The emotional support provided by social connections while participating in Neighbour Day may help to reduce stress and anxiety while fostering a sense of meaning and purpose.
If you need support, call SuicideLine Victoria on 1300 651 251.
If it is an emergency, call 000.