Loneliness Is a Public Health Emergency. Here's What Helps, According to Experts - Deepstash

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Only The Lonely

Only The Lonely

When the pandemic first began, many experts feared that even people who managed to avoid the virus would suffer from unprecedented levels of loneliness. What would happen when millions of people were told to stay at home and distance themselves from friends and loved ones? Two years of research later, experts have found that loneliness levels were already dire enough to pose a threat to mental and physical health.

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Pandemic Blues

Pandemic Blues

Across the U.S. and European populations, the differences in loneliness before and after the Pandemic are small.

Researchers found about a 5% increase in loneliness in the period immediately following the outbreak, but these differences do not mean anything clinically at all because the increases were so small.

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More People Are Now Talking About Mental Health Disorders

More People Are Now Talking About Mental Health Disorders

  • More people are feeling comfortable talking about mental health and the role that loneliness can play in mental health disorders.
  • Researchers who study loneliness say that it hasn't always received the kind of attention it deserves as a major threat to health.
  • Primary care doctors and therapists don't regularly screen their patients for signs of loneliness.
  • Japan followed the U.K. in appointing its first Minister of Loneliness in 2021.
  • WHO is considering creating a high-level commission to address social connection, isolation, and loneliness.

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How Loneliness Affects Health

How Loneliness Affects Health

  • Research has found loneliness can significantly increase the risk of early death.
  • In part, that's because it's linked to a striking number of disorders.
  • Loneliness has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.

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Reducing Loneliness

Reducing Loneliness

Reducing loneliness is not just increasing the number of people a person sees, but making more fulfilling social connections.

Seek out relationships with others who are really "your people".

Get busy to distract yourself and enrich your life-like getting out in nature, taking up a creative hobby, or meditating.

Nurture existing relationships, including with people you might overlook. For example, people become less lonely after doing small acts of kindness for their neighbour.

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