Belong: What does it mean?
Relationships and social connections provide us with a sense of belonging, which is essential for our mental health. Belonging to groups, whether formal or informal, large or small, local or even international, contributes to our identity and our sense of who we are.
You can belong to all sorts of groups such as a sports team, a car club, a book club, a group of friends in your street, your local community or an online community. Feelings of belonging are particularly important in schools and workplaces. New arrivals, whether from overseas or other parts of the country, often lack family support and old friends. In these cases new connections can be made at the workplace or the children’s school or by linking up with other recent arrivals in various cultural or other associations.
Grandad was a health expert too...
Grandad was the great participator...
He was a member of lots of groups: his fishing buddies, a book club and the local footy club to name a few. I think it was his variety of friends that made life so enjoyable for him and made him so interesting to us. He always knew someone to call to help him out – or, more often, help one of us grandkids out.
Grandad said being part of a group gave him a real sense of belonging. Health experts say belonging helps define our sense of identity and satisfies our psychological need for friendship, making us mentally healthy. Maybe Grandad knew that all along.
Your Belong Results
A score 0–8:
Definitely can improve! Look at the different questions above and pick one or two where you could most easily improve your score. Where would you like to improve? Remember you don’t have to score high in each area. The Great Way to Live Life guide provides some helpful tips and advice to help you Belong more.
A score of 9-13
You are doing well, but you could do more - especially if you scored under 10! Your current involvement in groups and clubs provides you with a good sense of belonging. However, if you have the time, you could further boost your mental health by selecting one or two activities you enjoy most and do them more often click here to see how.
A score of 14 or more:
Very good! You are certainly bolstering your mental health and wellbeing through your involvement in clubs and community groups. Perhaps you can encourage those around you to become more involved by inviting friends or family to join you. Read through the Great Way to Live Life guide for some ideas on how to continue to Belong. But remember not to overdo it.
When you have finished the Guide and started on some of your plans, answer the questions again after a month or so and calculate your score. Then do it again 3 months later and 6 months later
Belong more with friends and family
Belong more by attending community events
Belong more by joining a club or group
What are you interested in or would like to become interested in? Could you attend current groups more often? If you are from overseas, perhaps you would like to join an ethnic or cultural group.
Some examples of clubs you might like to join
- Scrabble, Bridge, Chess or Bingo group.
- Car club, footy club.
- Book club, choir, dinner, music or theatre group.
- Nature and conservation group.
- Cycling, swimming, dancing or walking groups.
- Volunteer organisations, e.g. Salvation Army, the Samaritans, the Red Cross charity and fundraising groups.
- Service clubs like Lions or Rotary.
- Ethnic or cultural clubs.
- Men’s Shed.
If you already belong to a group or are a member of an organisation, could you be more involved? The deeper your involvement, the stronger your sense of belonging to the group.
If you already are involved in a group, have you thought of getting a friend you know is lonely to join in? What about asking a friend to involve you in some of their social or community groups?
Additional Belong information
The Department of Sport and Recreation Clubs Online (WA only)
Search for local sports and recreation clubs.
Search for local social groups and clubs, or create your own group for members of the public to join.
Peer support program for people with a mental illness and people experiencing difficulty coping with life’s challenges.