Focus for February: Relationships

An important part of growing up is finding good friends. In fact, having at least one good friend can actually improve your health. NBC News Learn explains what a healthy friendship looks like and how to avoid a relationship that isn’t good for you.

Explore resources for how to maintain healthy relationships:

All families are unique. Supporting families involves recognizing that they come in all shapes and sizes, with different needs and circumstances.  Family members may not necessarily be biologically related or even live with the child or young person all the time. Some individuals may have one or several parents or caregiver, including grandparents, step-parents, same-sex parents, aunts and uncles, foster parents or adoptive parents.

In healthy family relationships, people trust and rely on each other for support, love, affection and warmth. Families often share common goals and work together to reach those goals. Family members feel safe and connected to one another.  Strong family relationships also are a source of comfort, guidance, and strength that you can draw on in times of stress. Likewise, they provide a sense of belonging and unconditional love you are not likely to find anywhere else.

A healthy friendship is one that is a positive influence in your life.  It is a relationship that encourages you to be your best, supports you through good and bad times and allows you to blossom.  An important part of any healthy friendship or relationship is the ability to talk and listen to one another. Friendships help people learn to listen and share their feelings.  Friends feel safe together and are an important part of each other’s lives.  Healthy friendships mean learning to respect and trust each other.  Friends are respectful of who each other is and can be themselves around each other.

Being part of a community gives us a sense of belonging. It enables us to share personal relatedness and support perpetual growth of each other, ourselves and our environment.  Community relationships embrace spirit, character, image and pride and are a vital element of a healthy community. It is a feeling that people within the community matter to one another with a shared faith that their needs will be met through commitment and togetherness. Being a part of a community can make us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves.  Community relationships provide unique opportunities for people to learn from each other.  They give support and encouragement and are an invaluable part of joining forces with our peers.

Like other relationships in our lives, romantic relationships play an important role in fulfilling our needs for intimacy and social connection.  Humans have an inherent need to build relationships, and when these relationships are healthy it can lead to better mental health and emotional wellbeing. A positive relationship can be shared between any two people who support, love, and encourage each other. Being in a loving and healthy romantic relationship can give a person a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

If you are concerned that your or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship here are hotlines that are free, private and available 24 hours per day:

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) 

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) 

ChildHelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4663) 

Love is Respect 1-866-331-9474 (1-866-331-8453 TTY).

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