Social Isolation and Loneliness: State Policies and Interventions for the Post-COVID Era.
Kirby, Jessica. Slone, Sean.
Council of State Governments.
Published: July 2021
This report examines the array of policy and intervention options available to stakeholders in shaping a post-COVID-19 pandemic paradigm of social integration and inclusion. It begins by explaining the pandemic and its aftermath are exacting a heavy toll on the mental health of millions of Americans with feelings of isolation, anxiety, grief, and depression, and notes the post-pandemic period may offer opportunities for enabling initiatives focused on greater access to mental health care as well as greater inclusion, social integration, and engagement for all. Key findings are shared on the significant policy challenges in social isolation, and existing legislation and trends in social isolation are reviewed. Existing policies, programs, and interventions in social isolation are also described for different populations, including older adults, middle school children, veterans, elementary school and autistic children, and adolescents. The following section explores the future of social isolation policy and reviews social isolation policy avenues for State legislatures in the areas of social-emotional learning in schools, behavioral health interventions via telehealth in schools, rural population strategies, teacher education, medical education, and robotic companion pets. The report closes with recommendations from key strategies used around the globe. 52 references.
COVID-19; Social isolation; Social inclusion; State programs; State agencies; Intervention; Community based services; State disaster response; Mental health services; Behavioral health services