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We Are Not Alone: Community Connectedness and Resilience

Issue 27

During the past few years, people have been facing a variety of adverse challenges in their individual lives. Collectively, those individual challenges have impacted communities as a whole. Communities experience adverse situations together. However, connectedness can be lost when bombarded with various disasters and tragedies. Having strong and equitable structures in place to create systems where community resilience can prosper is important for the well-being of everyone in the community! Without strong connections, people may not feel comfortable asking for help and could turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance use.

The Resilience Tree describes the impact of equitable and trauma-informed systems and supports. These investments help communities become resilient and equipped to support the health of their members. Source: The Center for Community Resilience at George Washington University – Dr. Wendy Ellis, Director of the Center for Community Resilience

EXAMPLE OF COMMUNITY RESILIENCE

CHALLENGE

Lockdown and quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic prevented youth from attending school in person. This not only impacted their academics, but also disrupted normal routines and socialization.

ADVERSE RESULT

Youth were feeling isolated and disconnected from communities. The 2021 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey revealed some disturbing data related to youth behavioral health.

SOLUTION

Strengthen community resilience. This summer, WPFP will host a 6-week youth-led project focusing on community resilience and creating bridges for community connectedness. Youth will use creative and artistic skills to build connectedness in their communities.

A COMMUNITY IS RESILIENT WHEN COMMUNITY MEMBERS:*

• Are connected to each other and work together

• Adapt to changes in the physical, social, or economic environment

• Are self-reliant if external resources are limited or cut off

• Learn from experience to improve the community over time

*From Maine Resilience Building Network

Hawa Shir
Hawa Shir
This article is written by Hawa Shir, Program Coordinator for Westbrook Partners for Prevention.

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