Surgeon General of the United States of America Dr. Vivek Murthy are sounding the alarm about how social distancing can affect physical health.
RELATED: New Study Explores How Black Women Experience Depression Differently
How harmful can loneliness be?
In an 81-page consultation titled Our epidemic of loneliness and isolationMurthy argues, “The fatal impact of being socially disconnected is similar to the impact of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.”
He also points out that the “death impact” of loneliness is “even greater than the impact associated with obesity and physical inactivity”.
As a result, Murthy says social connection deserves the same priority as other public health crises like addiction.
“In light of the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have the opportunity and obligation to make the same investments in addressing social connectivity that we have made to address the problem.” tobacco use, obesity and the addiction crisis. This Master Surgeon’s advice shows us how to build more connected lives and a more cohesive society.”
This view is supported by the observation that, in general, people with healthy social relationships tend to “live longer”.
“Evidence across the sciences converges to the conclusion that socially connected people live longer.”
How can the “Dark Strugglers” solve the problem?
Murthy spoke more about her advice in a chat with News AP. He noted that it was made in an effort to help those who are “struggling in the dark”.
“We now know that loneliness is a common feeling many people experience. It’s like hunger… Millions of people in America are struggling in the dark, and that’s just not true.”
The Surgeon General of the United States added: “That is why I offer this advice to draw back the curtain on the struggle that so many people are going through.”
Supporting this stance, Murthy’s advice notes that “Americans seem to be becoming less socially connected over time.”
He pointed out that the number of single households with duplicated since 1960, this helps explain why “a significant portion of Americans lack adequate social connections.”
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. However, factors such as increasing use of social media and declining community engagement also fuel the problem.
“Some examples of harm include technology that displaces face-to-face interaction, monopolizes our attention, reduces the quality of our interactions, and even lowers our self-esteem. “
Finally, after summarizing how loneliness can affect everything from heart health to cognitive function, Murthy points out that regulators must “establish social connection as a research priority”.
For individuals, Murthy says they must “understand” the impact of social connection while “actively participating in[ing] with people from different backgrounds.”
“All of us as individuals, organizations and communities can play a role in strengthening and strengthening connectivity across the country.”
Murthy also stressed the importance of establishing a “culture of connection” as it is “based on the core values of kindness, respect, service and commitment to one another”.
NEW: Today, I published Surgeons’ Advice on the pandemic of loneliness and isolation facing our country, the devastating effects it has on our collective health. us and our extraordinary healing power in our relationships. https://t.co/P9RnZkLr6G #Connect2Heal 1/8 pic.twitter.com/ZhaSuXTjoi
— Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States (@Surgeon_General) May 2, 2023