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Sir Michael Marmot's
IHE team

Local Communities and Social Environment

Social Environment

The social environment and communities in which individuals live shape physical and mental health and well-being. Social capital describes links that bind and connect people within and between communities. It provides a source of resilience, a buffer against poor health, through social support - which is critical to physical and mental well-being; and through the networks that help people find work, or get through economic and other material difficulties. The extent of people's participation in their communities and the added control over their lives that this brings has the potential to contribute to their psychosocial well-being and, as a result, to other health outcomes. Social isolation is the flip side of this - those who lack social capital and support, can become isolated and as a result, more likely to experience poor physical and mental health.

The examples below examine these problems and some propose actions and interventions to reduce inequalities in quality of social environments and communities in a variety of contexts.

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External report