Being a team player can improve your mental health, study finds

People who are part of a work, sports or social team are 24 percent more likely to report they are happy than those who are not, according to research.

Team players have a better support network (22 percent) and more than one in 10 (13 percent) credit being part of a team with getting through a hard time in their life.

This rises to an 80 percent boost among disabled people in a team, who are also 33 percent more likely to say their mental health is good.

Currently, 44 percent of people in the UK aren’t involved in social, professional, community or interests-based support networks.

While for 21 percent, the number of teams they belong to has decreased over the past three years, according to the poll of 2,002 adults, of whom 417 considered themselves to have a disability.

Dr Naomi Humber, head of mental wellbeing at Bupa, which commissioned the study, said: “Being part of a community or team with common interests or goals has a remarkable positive impact on both physical and mental health.

“Group participation and inclusion promotes a sense of belonging and social connection, creating a supportive environment that encourages healthy behaviours and motivates individuals to achieve their personal, professional and health goals.”

Those who are part of at least one team or society experience personal, professional and health benefits including feeling happier (30 percent), more confident (26 percent) and more likely to achieve their health and fitness goal (15 percent).

The sense of belonging leads to people feeling more included in society (36 percent), sociable (35 percent) and valued (34 percent).

The research also found 30 percent of people have felt a negative impact on their general mental health due to their experience of social exclusion, with many left feeling isolated (41 percent), sad (41 percent) and anxious (33 percent).

People living with a disability (72 percent) are more likely to experience exclusion.

This group is also almost twice as likely to report poor mental health than the wider population, as well as high levels of loneliness (43 percent), with women (61 percent) also significantly more likely to report feelings of isolation.

Paralympic Gold medallist Richard Whitehead MBE added: “Being part of a team has been really important for me in reaching my sporting and professional goals.

“Everyone needs a strong team in their corner, whether in their professional or personal lives, and deserves to feel included.

“I know from personal experience that feeling excluded is very harmful, both in terms of mental health and preventing people from reaching their potential.

“And although we’re making progress, it’s not always as easy for disabled people at school, work or in the community, which is why equal opportunities for everyone to be part of a team and feel a sense of belonging is so important.

“Through raising awareness of the impact of exclusion and the importance of being part of a supportive team, we can continue to make progress in creating a more inclusive society.”

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