Extensive evidence shows that having good-quality relationships can help us to live longer and happier lives with fewer mental health problems.
Having close, positive relationships can give us a purpose and sense of belonging.
Findings from the study were published in the 2012 book Triumphs of Experience, with key results showing that happiness and health aren’t a result of wealth, fame or working hard, but come instead from our relationships.
During childhood and adolescence, we learn how to engage with others from our parents, families and guardians.
How we interact and form relationships has changed considerably over the past decade.
The evolving family structure, development and reliance on online technologies, longer working hours, and changes in how we define community mean that who we connect with and how we connect may never be the same again.
Living in conflict or within a toxic relationship is more damaging than being alone.
In 2015, 43% of young people aged 10 to 15 in the UK reported having been bullied.
Of these, 29% reported they self-harmed, 27% skipped class, 14% developed an eating disorder and 12% ran away from home as a result of bullying.
Thirty per cent had suicidal thoughts, 14% used drugs and/or alcohol, and 6% engaged in risky behaviours.
Adulthood can be a time of stability and brings the joys of discovering new relationships, including building a family.
Recognising the importance of good relationships and defining new ways of developing and maintaining strong social connections are integral to our wellbeing as a nation.