Year: 2021 Source: Journal of Safety Research. (2021). 77, 328-333. SIEC No: 20210410

Introduction: During this time ofintensified hardship and disruption due to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, communities, practitioners, and state and local governments have had to rapidly implement and adapt strategies that support mental health and wellbeing during a global pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and at least half of the top 10 leading causes of death have been associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). A number of established risk factors for suicide and ACEs may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, including loneliness and the lack of connectedness. Method: This article briefly considers the effects of COVID-19 on social connection and outlines the importance of adapting and developing programming and resources that address suicide and ACEs prevention during a time of infrastructure disruption. Practical Applications: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ways that many individuals are able to safely interact and socially connect due to public health prevention strategies implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. Local, city, and state government, community organizations, and public health and medical practitioners should consider the adaptation and development of existing and new programming, resources, and activities that support and strengthen social connection. In addition to implementing programs, policies may help address systemic and structural barriers to social connection, such as access to parks and open space, public transportation, or digital connectivity.