Epidemic of Loneliness

I was watching PBS News Hour last week and listened to our Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, announce that we are experiencing an Epidemic of Loneliness! I am not surprised. According to Dr. Murthy, 1 in 2 adults report measurable levels of loneliness. Loneliness has real consequences for we human beings!

When lonely, we more likely are also experiencing increased levels of Depression and/or Anxiety. We are increasing our risk of feeling like life doesn’t matter and that no one would miss us- suicidal ideation is on the rise. It is harder to be a parent, friend, family member, co-worker, if we feel lonely. It is hard to have the energy to reach our when we feel alone.

Studies (according to Dr. Murthy) show that the risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke are increased among lonely people.

During the long (over 3 years) pandemic, even gregarious outgoing folks, such as myself, experienced higher degrees of alone time and loneliness. It was easy to reach for technology or sit in front of a screen for entertainment and solace. Screens do not replace human interaction and cannot feed our living souls like human interaction can.

Even if it is a bit scary to reach out- call a friend, go to the gym, take a walk, take a class. We at Cedar Valley Counseling realize that much of counseling needed to be remote (via Zoom, Secure Video etc) during the raging pandemic. Now, we are seeing more clients return to the office in real present time. There is nothing better than sitting with a human being and sharing a moment, or two or three in real communion. People learn to regulate emotion easier in the presence of a calm person who cares!

I notice clients coming and going from the office space. Some hold the doors for another. Some stand and view the scenery as they enter our space. Others enjoy a piece of candy or cup of tea. Each interaction is a step toward health and healing in a safe and supportive place.  Give us a call- we are here for you.

Link to CNN’s article on the surgeon general’s loneliness epidemic declaration


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