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CSDE Seminar Series

CSDE Fellows Invited Lectures

States’ COVID-19 Mitigation Policies and Psychological Wellbeing, Drug Overdose, and Suicide among U.S. Working-Age Adults

Shannon Monnat, Sociology, Syracuse University

Online Only

To Join By Zoom: Register HERE

12:30-1:30 PM PT


Population Health Initiative

In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. states enacted physical distancing policies (e.g., stay-at-home orders and non-essential business closures) aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 by reducing in-person interactions. There was substantial speculation that these policies could adversely affect mental health and increase drug overdose risk. To mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic and associated restrictive policies, many states also enacted economic support policies, such as direct cash payments and eviction moratoria. States varied in both the implementation and duration of their physical distancing and economic support policies. We leverage this variation to identify associations between states’ COVID-19 policies and working-age adult mental health outcomes, drug overdose, and suicide. This presentation will summarize findings from our recent studies that used individual-level survey data from the National Wellbeing Survey, 2021 (a national survey of U.S. working-age adults), county-level mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System, and state-level policy data from Boston University’s COVID-19 U.S. State Policy Database (CUSP) and Oxford University COVID-19 Government Response Tracker to examine the relationships between states’ activity limitation and economic support policies and U.S. working age adult mental health, drug overdose, and suicide. The findings have implications for how policymakers might think about the countervailing implications of policy decisions on different population health outcomes.

Shannon Monnat is the Lerner Chair in Public Health Promotion and Population Health, Director of the Center for Policy Research, and Professor of Sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Monnat is a rural demographer and population health scholar whose research examines trends and geographic differences in health and mortality, with a special interest in rural health and health disparities. She is a leading national expert on structural and spatial determinants of drug overdose and other deaths of despair. Her most recent research has focused on geographic differences in COVID-19 experiences and impacts. Monnat has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and she regularly writes policy briefs for non-academic audiences. Monnat has been the PI or Co-Investigator on externally funded projects totaling over $12 million, including from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Agriculture, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Institute for New Economic Thinking. She currently leads a NIDA-funded project to examine the effects of state’s COVID-19 mitigation policies on working-age adult psychological wellbeing, drug overdose, and suicide and co-leads an NIA-funded project on how state policies and county economic conditions have jointly contributed to the large and growing geographic disparities in midlife mortality, psychosocial wellbeing, and health behaviors in the U.S.