Loneliness, Isolation a Mental Health Hazard – U.S. Surgeon General

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Connection – medicine hiding in plain sight!

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has released an advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection. It says loneliness fundamentally affects mental, physical, and societal health. The subject is personal to Dr. Murthy, who wrote the bestseller Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World at the onset of the pandemic and struggled with loneliness as a child.


Loneliness, Isolation – U.S. Surgeon General’s Report 2023

Even before the pandemic, almost half of U.S. adults reported experiencing loneliness. The Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation shows a decline in social connections – especially among the young. It also says that loneliness is as bad for individual and societal health as smoking. The report details recommendations that individuals, governments, workplaces, health systems, and communities can take to increase connection.


‘Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connection the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders. Together, we can build a country that’s healthier, more resilient, less lonely, and more connected.” Dr. Vivek Murthy


Report Findings: Physical Health Consequences of Loneliness, Isolation

  • 29% increased risk of heart disease
  • 32% increased risk of stroke
  • 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults


Report Findings: Mental Health Challenges

  • Double the risk of depression for lonely adults
  • Childhood isolation and loneliness increase the risk of depression and anxiety immediately and in the future
  • Secrecy about feeling lonely can further isolate an individual, making them vulnerable to substance use and other mental health conditions
  • With 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 3 young adults living with a mental illness, addressing loneliness is critical


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Connection is the “Cure”

According to the study, there is a “medicine hiding in plain sight.” Social connection can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions and increase community health, safety, resilience, prosperity, and civic engagement. The Surgeon General lays out a framework for a national strategy to advance social connection based on the following pillars:

  • Strengthening social infrastructure
  • Enacting public policies that are pro-connection
  • Mobilizing the health sector
  • Reforming digital environments
  • Deepening knowledge of the causes and consequences of social disconnection
  • Cultivating a Culture of Connection


Read the Full Advisory HERE


For 7 Tips on How You Can Do Your Part – Click the Link or Photo Below:

Mental Health Awareness Month – Join the Community

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the time to bring attention to mental health and its importance to overall health and well-being. At the same time, we are also experiencing a mental health crisis in the United States. In a new Surgeon General’s Advisory, Dr. Murthy raises the alarm about the impact of loneliness [read more…]


Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit www.sanfordbehavioralhealth.com.