Building Social Connections and Promoting Connectivity
Youth need social support and connection to thrive.
Content Warning: mentions of suicide, suicidal thoughts, and ideation.
Social connection is an important aspect of life and as human beings, we are inherently
social beings. And as human beings, we have a drive and psychological need
to connect with others and build relationships – something that we found is especially
important to youth’s mental health and well-being. As we shared in our previous article,
Positively Impacting the Mental Health of Youth Through Community and Social
Support, social connection and support is an important factor in lowering the risk of
suicide among youth. Studies have shown that there is a significant impact that the
COVID-19 pandemic and various school disruptions have had on the mental health of
youth across the U.S. with increased suicide attempts and thoughts of suicide.
In the Minneapolis Public School District alone, students from pre-K through 12th grade
have faced multiple disruptions since 2020. Schools were closed in early 2020 due to
the pandemic with some schools moving to virtual or hybrid learning later in the year,
with the option to continue with remote learning. Most recently, during the teacher’s
strike, schools in the district were closed for 15 days of canceled classes. (mspmag.
com) These disruptions, although necessary, unavoidable, and/or meant to protect the
health and wellbeing of youth and families across the district, and social isolation has
presented challenges for parents but most notably have had unforeseen impacts on the
mental health of youth.