Co(O)Ping: Mental Health In Cooperative Living Communities
The import role of human interaction and social support on well-being and mental health has been researched extensively. There are numerous recorded health benefits to social support and social networks as well as negative health effects for socially isolated individuals. Unfortunately, studies have found increased levels of social isolation over the last few decades. One potential solution to this problem may be found in the cooperative housing movement. In cooperative housing, members share common spaces and responsibilities to provide meals for each other. In order to explore this idea on a more individualized level, a documentary was made to tell the stories of co-op members. The documentary was supplemented with quantitative data in the form of a psychology research study. This study seeks to explore the relationship between cooperative living and mental health, and whether there are any factors that might predict better success for an individual in the cooperative setting. Co-op members were recruited to participate in recorded interviews and asked to complete a short survey. Results showed that people who used the co-op as a form of social support felt the co-op had a positive effect on their mental health.