As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages communities across the world, leaders on the national and local level have grappled with how to respond to the deadly virus. Supporting the public health infrastructure, providing economic support, and investing in the development of a safe and effective vaccine are among the top priorities for many global leaders; but the means by which to achieve them look drastically different among various governments, leaders, and institutions. Therefore, this pandemic has forced us to reevaluate and redefine policy creation, implementation, and effectiveness. Research into COVID-19 policy decisions allows us to compare pandemic responses among various countries, prominent world leaders, and higher-education institutions. Additionally, we can dive deeper to investigate how these policies, such as stay-at-home orders, social-distancing mandates, and business shutdowns, have impacted the mental health of community members around the world. For the past year, new policy implementations have controlled our lives like never before; understanding their effectiveness, as well as their negative implications, can help us to increase community resiliency and prepare for an ever more globalized future that is anticipated to experience frequent epidemics.