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The Importance of Social Support During Uncertain Times

The current pandemic has changed a lot of aspects of our everyday lives. Your children or grandchildren may not be going to school every day anymore, or they may be attending classes online from home. You might not be going to work in-person, and you may be working remotely.

The leading issue with these new routines is that you may not be around social settings as frequently as before. Having a social group, such as your family, friends, a religious community, local book club, etc. is very important to mental health and well-being.

Social support provides a structure for you to lean on when times are hard. Having a “group” provides emotional support. Those in the group are a shoulder for you to cry on. A strong social network also provides instrumental support, such as operating a weekly carpool to school, or your neighbors bringing over a hot dish for your family when experiencing a loss.

Although these gatherings are less frequent and less populated, they are still important to maintaining a healthy mentality. If you are alone at home, grab a book or magazine to read. Using your phone to call or FaceTime a friend or loved one provides a way to stay in contact with people and maintain a social group.

Planning a small, community gathering is another great way to continue socializing and growing your social support system. North Dakota Health ( provides the current guidelines and regulations for organizing a social gathering.

Consider gathering in smaller meeting groups and inviting only a few people at a time, all with masks. You could hold a socially distanced outdoor get-together. Host a neighborhood drive-in movie night. Set up a projector in your yard or driveway and invite your friends and neighbors to remain in their cars throughout the duration of the film.

Stay connected in new ways because it impacts your health and well-being.


By Madisen Patten, NDSU Extension Community Nutrition Intern

Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist




Cherry, K. (2020). How social support contributes to psychological health. A. Morin, LCSW. 

Verywell Mind

Advent Health (2020). Staying connected during a coronavirus quarantine. AdventHealth

North Dakota Department of Health (2019). Available at

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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