(HorizonPost.com) – Last month, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released an advisory warning of an emerging public health crisis of isolation, loneliness, and a lack of connection, ABC News reported.
The advisory cites recent research that shows around half of American adults were experiencing loneliness daily even before the onset of pandemic lockdowns.
According to a meta-analysis cited in the advisory, a lack of social interaction can increase certain health risks. Loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 26 percent while social isolation can increase premature death by 29 percent.
A lack of social connection has also been linked to an increase in anxiety, depression, heart disease, stroke, and dementia, according to the advisory.
One review cited in the advisory also found that one of the primary motivations for self-harm is loneliness. The Surgeon General said in the advisory that in light of the “consequences” of isolation and loneliness, the government is obligated to invest in the crisis in the same way it invested in other crises like addiction, tobacco use, and obesity.
The advisory outlines a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection with recommendations for governments, employers, healthcare providers, and community groups to increase social connection.
The recommendations include local infrastructure improvements, including developing libraries and parks. It calls for changing policies to allow for paid family leave and more public transportation. It also recommends training healthcare providers to recognize if a patient is at risk for loneliness. The advisory also addresses online interactions, recommending that online platforms be evaluated to determine how they might harm meaningful connections.
In a column last week at The Federalist, author Stella Morabito warns that while the surgeon general’s recommendations may appear innocuous, they would put the autonomy of Americans’ lives and relationships in danger while threatening to regulate freedom of association” in ways we never could have imagined.”Morabito tackles each of Murthy’s six “pillars” of action and explains what such actions would mean to individual liberty and freedom of association.
Copyright 2023, HorizonPost.com