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Social Connection Helps Physical and Mental Health

October 9th, 2020

Illustration of people figures hold hands and form a chain around the globe

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, DSCC promotes the importance of social connection and ways to support it.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) is committed to strengthening families and building healthy communities.   

We encourage our participant families, providers, community partners and all Illinois residents to join us in recognizing World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

To celebrate, DSCC Quality Improvement Specialist Diane Becker shares the latest research on how social connection affects both our physical and mental health:

We know that for all of us to grow, develop and thrive in Illinois, it requires us to work together as a community to remain safe and support each other. 

This support includes creating opportunities for positive social connections and providing information and access to mental health support.

Positive social connections allow us to feel valued. They also provide opportunities to work together to solve problems.

Growing research shows more physical and mental health benefits to creating and maintaining these relationships. Positive connections create chemical changes that affect the immune system, nervous system, glucose levels and blood pressure.

The American Psychological Association’s article, Life-saving Relationships, provides more evidence of emotional connections and health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the conversation about mental health in positive terms and showing its connection to overall health and wellbeing. Social and environmental factors known to affect physical and mental health include:

* Food and housing security

* Safety in the home, school, work and community

* Access to care

* Connection to others

Mental health services are available throughout Illinois to offer connection and supports, even during this time of social distancing.

DSCC staff can also help you find available services and resources in your area to meet your unique needs.

Services are a safe and consistent place to move forward in adjustment or recovery to any setback, trauma, grief or loss that you may be experiencing. 

Supports can also benefit anyone seeking a healthier way to work through difficult or complex emotions, to challenge negative thinking patterns or to learn new techniques. 

The National Institute of Mental Health offers a quick reference guide if you think you may need more support. 

Access to care remains DSCC’s priority. 

Our team members are available to connect you with other families for peer-to-peer support. We can also share additional health supports and services in the community.

To learn more, please reach out to your local DSCC Regional Office or call us at (800) 322-3722.

You can also visit our online Resource Directory for additional support.

Featured resources include: