A new advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General is warning people that loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our county have become a public crisis. Advisories are reserved for issues deemed significant public health challenges that “need the American people’s immediate attention,” according to a statement from Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General.

He said that loneliness and social disconnection are more common than we realized. “In recent years, about one in two adults reported experiencing loneliness. It’s also more widespread than many other health issues including smoking, diabetes, and obesity,” said U.S. Surgeon General.

The report released on Tuesday, titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, “warns that the physical consequences of poor connection can be devastating, including a 29% increased risk of heart disease; a 32% increased risk of stroke; and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults.”

People are spending less time with each other in person than two decades ago. Murthy said that many young people now use social media as a replacement for in-person relationships, and this often meant lower-quality connections. The advisory reported that this was most pronounced in young people aged 15 to 24 who had 70% less social interaction with their friends.

There are ways to combat the loneliness epidemic in the U.S. In response, the advisory outlines a new national strategy based on six foundational pillars. One of the foundational pillars would be strengthening social infrastructure, which includes things like parks and libraries as well as public programs. Another would be reforming digital environments to “critically evaluate our relationship with technology.”

Here are other way to cope with loneliness.

  • Join A Class Or Club

    Joining a class or a club presents an opportunity to meet a group of people who share at least one of your interests. can also provide a sense of belonging that comes with being part of a group.

    Group of people in fitness class


  • Volunteer

    Volunteering for a cause you believe in can decrease loneliness. It can also bring about a new found purpose and a deeper sense of gratitude. 

    group of volunteers with garbage bags cleaning city park.

  • Strengthen Existing Relationships

    Reconnect with those already a part of your life by calling friends more often or going out with them more.

    Two women hugging

  • Adopt A Pet

    Pets can prevent loneliness as well as connect you with other people. Walking a dog opens you up to a community of other dog-walkers, and an adorable dog on a leash tends to be a people magnet. 

    Cat in box ready for adoption

  • Talk To Strangers

    Find connections in every day life by interacting in small ways with acquaintances or strangers you encounter. There’s a study that says doing so contributes to our social and emotional well-being.

    Woman chatting with fellow traveler in subway car

  • Practice Self-Care

    Do what you can to take care of yourself especially when you are feeling down. Eating nutritious food, exercising, and getting enough sleep will only make you feel better.

    woman reading a book at home, drinking coffee sitting on the couch.

  • Keep Busy

    Pick up a hobby or take yourself on a date. Take some time to invest in yourself and your interests and keep your mind occupied in the process.

    Woman playing guitar

  • Therapy

    Research suggests that loneliness and symptoms of depression can perpetuate each other, which means the more lonely you are, the more depressed you feel, and vice versa. Sometimes just “getting out there” and meeting other people isn’t enough. It’s possible to still feel lonely when you’re around them, which could actually be a sign of depression or social anxiety. If this is the case for you, seeing a therapist may help with feelings of loneliness.

    Online therapy session of teenage female with psychologist

Sign me up for the WRAT email newsletter!

Join ClubRAT for access to all the perks delivered right to your inbox from Jersey's Concert Connection! Get exclusive presale codes for upcoming shows, the latest updates with your favorite rockers, contest info, and more.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.