“Natural supports enhance the quality and security of life for people.”

WHAT ARE NATURAL SUPPORTS?

Natural supports are mutual relationships that include close connections, such as family and friends, and broader connections, such as neighbours and coaches. Natural supports can lessen the effects of stress and difficult experiences by providing opportunities for learning, as well as receiving encouragement and advice. These connections have been shown to be key for children and youth because they can counteract adverse home, school or community environments. 

Supportive people and surroundings enable children and youth to develop skills, including communication, self-esteem, coping, and decision-making. These skills empower them to create naturally supportive and healthy relationships to promote well-being and success in life.

Research has shown that the most common factor among resilient children is the presence of at least one stable and supportive relationship with a caregiver or other dedicated adult. Therefore, not only do these connections improve well-being for children, they provide a mechanism for caregivers, teachers, coaches, etc. to better support children and youth.