Connectedness is the degree to which an individual or group of individuals are socially close, interrelated, supportive, or share resources with others. Social and structural connectedness can be formed within and between individuals, families, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, faith communities, cultural groups and society as a whole. Connectedness must be addressed comprehensively on each of these levels to be effective, and can include trust in one’s community and neighborhood, walkability, livability and increased availability of, seamless access to, and participation in social organizations. The Violence and Injury Prevention ‒ Mental Health Promotion (VIP-MHP) Branch prioritizes connectedness along with healthy social norms, economic stability and supports and behavioral health, to build community resilience and prevent multiple forms of violence and injury.

VIP-MHP measures connectedness through risk or protective factors that are common across multiple outcomes like substance abuse and violence and injury prevention. Those factors may include:
  • Connecting youth with trusted adults.
  • Neighborhood support and cohesion.
  • Neighborhood safety, free from violence.
  • Coordination of resources and services among community agencies.
  • Social isolation/lack of social support.
  • Family conflict.
  • Associating with pro-social peers.
  • Connection/commitment to school.
  • Low educational achievement.
  • Walkability.
  • Livability.

Upstream Prevention:
By working toward connectedness as a shared priority, the following programs leverage resources to address upstream risk and protective factors, and prevent multiple forms of violence and injury at once. While the VIP-MHP Branch primarily works at the societal and community/organizational levels, the branch also collaborates with partners working at the individual and interpersonal levels of the model.

VIP-MHP Programs that Prioritize Connectedness:
  • Office of Suicide Prevention
  • Child Fatality Prevention System
  • Retail Marijuana Education and Prevention
  • Communities That Care
  • Sexual Violence Prevention
  • Motor Vehicle Injury and Fatality Prevention
  • Excessive Alcohol Use Epidemiology and Prevention
  • Essentials for Childhood
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention