Surgeon General Lays Out Framework to Tackle Loneliness and “Mend the Social Fabric of Our Nation”
August 25, 2023
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently released an advisory on the country’s “epidemic of loneliness and isolation.” Part of the administration’s broader mental health efforts, the advisory includes a framework for a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection. Research has shown that social isolation is associated with a variety of physical and mental health concerns, including increased risk of suicide and self-harm. “Given the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis,” Murthy wrote in the advisory. The framework establishes six pillars: (1) strengthen social infrastructure, (2) enact public policies that promote connection, (3) address social disconnection in public health and health care systems, (4) reform digital environments, (5) deepen knowledge on the topic through research, and (6) create a national culture of connection. The advisory also includes suggestions for how governments, health care organizations, schools, workplaces, parents and caregivers, and individuals can promote social connection.
Spark Extra! Learn more about preventing suicide through social connectedness.