“Living in the country dials down my stress levels, which is so critical for my mental health. There are real emotional benefits to being so close to nature – I love to go bushwalking regularly and photographing wildlife.”
It is not just our home environment that influences us; the neighbourhood in which we live does too. A close-knit neighbourhood can provide a sense of belonging, safety, and support.
Feeling safe is important for mental health and overall wellbeing. Factors that can contribute to a feeling of neighbourhood safety include: seeing other people out and about, having friends who live nearby, access to useful facilities, and positive relationships with neighbours.
When you feel that your neighbourhood is safe, you are more likely to take part in group activities, or even just go out for a walk. When that feeling of safety is missing, you may be wary of going out, which in turn can have a negative effect on your physical health.
There are some personal factors that can affect feelings of safety in the neighbourhood. Mobility, disability, and being alone are a few examples. Whether you have experienced crime in your neighbourhood, or observed social unrest, you may find it harder to feel that your neighbourhood is safe. At times you may have trouble connecting with neighbours, which can make you feel vulnerable.
There are many benefits to an active and supportive neighbourhood community. Find out more about safe, stable, and secure, and home and housing.
A closer look
The wellbeing of society depends on the wellbeing of neighbourhoods
Families, neighbourhoods, and communities are the building blocks of the nation's life. Neighbourhoods that support each other lessen burdens on society as a whole. Fundraising for community causes, and sharing food, care, and shelter benefits the society and its economy. Quality housing, facilities, health services, education, and social togetherness are usually indications of healthy neighbourhoods. (Source)
You can feel safe in your neighbourhood
Despite 1 in 5 households with children (0-14) having experienced a break-in, in the past year, most people stated they feel very safe during both the day (94%) and night (85%). People in major city and inner regional neighbourhoods were relatively less likely to feel safe during the day or night. (Source)
Walking a dog can make you feel safer
Walking a dog can help a person feel safer in their community. Almost 60% of dog walkers in Australia and the US feel safer when walking with their dog, and this effect is more pronounced for women. Not everyone can keep a dog, but some neighbours are happy to lend their dogs for walks. (Source)
Safety for older people differs to people of other ages
Older adults are more likely to take routine precautions to protect their safety. Young people are more likely to feel safer than older people at home alone during the day. However, older persons living in small regional towns are the most likely to state they feel safe in their neighbourhood all the time. (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).