National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

People Who Need People

Facts of Life

BY The Editors

May 18-24, 2008 Issue | Posted 5/13/08 at 1:05 PM


It’s an old saw that a joy shared is twice the joy and a burden shared is half the burden. It also happens to be a true one, if the results of a new survey by Mental Health America are anything to go by. Medical News Today reported on the poll May 2, noting that Americans routinely feel overwhelmed by stress — but their loads are significantly lightened by relationships with family, friends, co-workers and others. The vast majority of respondents (97%) have people in their lives they trust and can turn to when in need of support. More than one-third (43%) have as many as five people, and only three percent of respondents report having none. “Individuals who feel valued and cared for are better equipped to deal with stress and adversity and even experience less severe illnesses than those with little social support,” said David Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. “The results of this survey … show that most Americans do, in fact, have supportive relationships and that they recognize the vital role these relationships play in protecting them from depression and other illnesses.” Or, as Proverbs 17:17 puts it: “He who is a friend is always a friend, and a brother is born for the time of stress.”

Kevin Bedan illustration