Topics: Psychological Research on the Net - psych.hanover.edu
Think about what it would be like to spend most of your time alone because being around other people is just too difficult. You feel that others are judging you for your mental illness, and so you are scared to face the world. You withdraw to avoid this stigmatization. This social withdrawal is emotionally very costly. But this is a two-way street the mentally ill withdraw from society society withdraws from them.
An Australian survey reported that two-thirds of people affected by a mental illness feel lonely “often” or “all of the time”. The research says in contrast, just 10 per cent of the general population reported feelings of loneliness. (1)
Social relationships are important for anyone in maintaining health, but for the mentally ill it is especially important. People with mental illness value contact with family. But families may be unwilling to interact with their mentally ill family member. Social isolation is also sometimes due to the unwillingness of others to befriend the mentally ill. The public may avoid them altogether. The stigma associated with mental illness creates huge barriers to socialization.