CONSULTING PLANNERS OF MASSACHUSETTS
Expertise for Communities
"Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently released an advisory addressing an “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” in the United States.
For reasons that are a little bit unclear—declining religiosity, the rise of social media, maybe—for a long time now, Americans have been reporting more time spent alone, smaller social networks, and fewer people they can confide in. Isolation is not a trivial thing, but a serious threat to survival, coming with increased stress, insomnia, suicide risk, and hypertension, the Surgeon General warns.
The report describes loneliness and disconnection as a national health concern comparable to obesity, diabetes, and smoking. People in poor health or with disabilities, LGBTQ people, and single parents are particularly susceptible, as are young people (who seem to be uniquely struggling right now).
Unfortunately, all these factors were worsened by the pandemic. There are probably few Americans who weren’t affected by loneliness at some point during this period.
“...the social infrastructure of the community” is what we need to strengthen and rebuild."