“Epidemic of Loneliness” – New Surgeon General Advisory
”We have an epidemic of loneliness and isolation,” a quote from the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, in an advisory released recently. In recent years, one in two adults reported feeling lonely, and that was before the pandemic.
Research shows that loneliness and isolation are linked to sleep problems, inflammation, and immune changes in younger adults. In older people, they are tied to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and a shorter life span. People of all ages who feel isolated or lonely may have higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, addiction, self-harm, and dementia.
Dr. Vivek suggests a “National Strategy To Advance Social Connection,” highlighting several action pillars for institutions, schools, workplaces, individuals, and families. The goal is to create and culture of connection and “cultivate values of kindness, respect, service, and commitment to one another.” The advisory also recommends taking time out of each day to connect with a friend or family member, practicing service and gratitude, and reducing actions that lead to disconnection, such as harmful social media use or time spent in unhealthy relationships.
See a copy of the advisory here.