In May 2023, the Surgeon General brought attention to the epidemic of loneliness in the United States, labeling it as a public health crisis. It's estimated that around half of American adults experience intense loneliness, which can negatively impact their physical, mental, and social well-being.
According to research, prolonged feelings of being disconnected can have serious health consequences, including a 29% higher risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% higher likelihood of developing dementia for older individuals. Moreover, lacking social connections can increase the risk of premature death by over 60%. Adults who struggle with loneliness are also more than twice as likely to experience depression.
If you're experiencing loneliness, there are several strategies you can try. These include reaching out to a friend, taking a walk, joining an online support group, practicing self-care, or even adopting a pet. However, if you've tried these methods and still feel lonely, it may be time to consider speaking with a therapist. Whole Wellness counselors are equipped to provide you with tools to reframe your thinking, identify obstacles that may be getting in the way of making meaningful connections, and help you with actionable strategic to diminish the sense of loneliness.