“It doesn’t always have to be a health professional that you speak to, because you can get a lot from just from talking to a family member or a good friend. I think sometimes it's just someone being there and listening so you can get whatever you're thinking about off your chest. That can be really helpful.”
Feeling safe, stable, and secure is central to our health and wellbeing. How safe we feel at home and in our neighbourhood can influence our social habits and feeling of freedom. When we feel safe, we find it easier to relax, do all the things that comfort us, and focus on the work or study we need to do to help ensure our stability.
Home is where you might spend a large amount of time, so it is important to feel secure and safe there. Connecting with the community in which you live is also important. Taking part in social events or group exercise, or even going for a walk can add to your feeling of stability.
Many factors can influence your sense of security – whether financial, physical, or in the workplace. Trust, job security, and having supportive friends and family are all strongly linked with wellbeing.
Take a look at the resources below, or read our pages on financial safety, neighbourhoods, and home and housing.
A closer look
Friendship and belonging strengthens social connection, confidence, and trust
Spending time with friends and having the support of peers lifts our self-esteem and confidence. Generally, studies say that stable social connections and feeling like we belong have a very positive influence on our mental health and wellbeing. (Source)
Neighbourhood design can affect personal safety
Researchers believe that the way we design and build our neighbourhoods affects our social interactions and our sense of community. This may in turn affect our levels of physical activity and mental health. Features that add to neighbourhood safety and security include street layout, meeting places, open spaces, and designing for community safety. (Source 1) (Source 2) (Source 3)
Discrimination affects our ability to feel safe
In a 2014 ABS General Social Survey, people described feeling unsafe due to racism, sexual orientation, and language barriers. People who have been discriminated against in the past are more likely to feel unsafe walking alone at night in their neighbourhood. Discrimination may also cause people to mistrust and lose contact with others, and reduce attendance at school or work. It can also increase risk of mental ill-health. (Source)
Many Australians feel safe in their neighbourhood
In an ABS survey, 75% of Australians aged over 18 years said that they felt safe either alone at home, walking alone at night in their own neighbourhood, or catching public transport at night on their own. Those who did not feel safe often took practical precautions and actively avoided being alone in those situations. (Source)
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool (opens in a new tab).