Social Capital

Emotional support

Emotional support refers to support from people in one’s social network in the form of love, caring, acceptance, sympathy, understanding, encouragement, and/or esteem or value [14]. Emotional support is commonly understood to be a part of the wider concept of social support (along with instrumental support or help with practical things; and advice on expert matters, typically from professionals). Easy access to emotional support (or support that is perceived to be readily available) [15] can have a positive influence on physical and psychological wellbeing [16-18]. These positive effects probably accrue via buffering stress and/or by influencing health-related behaviours [19,20]. Early social experiences tend to influence physical health and mental wellbeing across the lifespan, making emotional support a particularly important resource for young people [20] and for those experiencing life transitions [21].

This indicator presents the proportion of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down or a bit depressed and wanted to talk with someone about it, as reported in the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey.

The figure shows the proportion of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, for greater Christchurch, Christchurch City, Selwyn District, and Waimakariri District, as reported in the 2019 Canterbury Wellbeing Survey (12.5%, 12.4%, 12.2%, and 13.5%, respectively). The figure shows that more than one-in-ten respondents indicated that they would find it hard or very hard to access emotional support in times of need.

The figure shows the proportion of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, in greater Christchurch, by ethnicity, in 2019. The figure shows similar levels of emotional support (the proportion who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down) for European, Māori, and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents (12.2%, 10.3%, and 12.2%, respectively).

The figure shows the proportion of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, for greater Christchurch, by age group, in 2019. The figure shows a clear picture of greater difficulty accessing emotional support for young people aged 18 to 24 (a statistically significantly higher proportion reporting that they would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, compared with the 25-34 years and 75 years and over age groups: 16.4%, 8.9%, and 8.1%, respectively). The data suggest that access to emotional support may generally improve over the life course, however more time-points are needed to explore this further.

The figure shows the proportion of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, in greater Christchurch, by gender, in 2019. The figure shows similar levels of emotional support (the proportion who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down) for female and male respondents (12.7% and 12.0%, respectively).

The figure shows the proportion of respondents reporting that they would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down, by income group, in 2019. The figure shows a clear pattern of higher levels of difficulty in accessing emotional support in the lower income groups (<$30,000, 16.7%; $30,001-$60,000, 13.7%; $60,001-$100,000, 10.9%; $100,000+ group, 9.8%). The difference between the lowest income group and the highest income group was statistically significant in 2019.

The figure shows statistically significantly higher proportions of those aged 18 years and over who would find it hard or very hard to talk to someone if they were feeling down for those with a long-term health condition or disability, compared with those without, in greater Christchurch, 2019 (17.7% and 11.3%, respectively).

Data Sources

Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey 2019. Access publicly available data from the Community and Public Health (Canterbury DHB) website www.cph.co.nz/your-health/wellbeing-survey/
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 26/11/2019