b'springtideresearch.org37What is connection?Connection describes the depth, number, and type of relationships a person has. Young people can be connected to one another, their families, friends, non-family adults, and even larger communities or groups. Schools are natural hubs of potential belonging, in both the large community of a whole school and the individual subcommunities that make it up. In this way, young people have the opportunity to forge relationships that can meet a variety of needs: numerous acquaintances with a few close connections, friendships or mentorships based on shared interests, and an overall sense of being connected to a whole body of other students, faculty, and staff. Because connection is not just about gathering, all these types of relationships are important within the school context. Why does connection matter for mental health? Young people who Young people who have more, and more significant,have more, and connections are less likely to suffer from mental illness. Tomore significant, say it another way, young people are more likely to reportconnections are mental wellness and flourishing if they have relationshipsless likely to suffer with friends, family members, and others. Sociologists sometimes refer to this sense of connection as socialfrom mental illness. integration. The social sciences have demonstrated, in the words of sociologist Allan V. Horwitz, that people with more frequent contacts with family, friends, and neighbors and who are involved with voluntary organizations such as churches, civic organizations, and clubs report better mental health than those who are more isolated.'