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Surgeon General Releases Recommendations Calling for Better Social Connections

As part of a federal initiative to improve mental health care, Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General in Washington, D.C., published “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: A Surgeon General’s Statement on the Healing Effects of Society.” issued an advisory titled “Recommendation”. connection and community. “

In his recommendations, the Surgeon General warned that Americans “wired for social connections” are becoming more isolated over time.

Doctors warned that loneliness poses serious health risks. Heart diseasedementia, stroke, depression, anxiety.

“The effects of social detachment on mortality are similar to those caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and even greater than those associated with obesity and physical inactivity.

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About 50% of American adults report experiencing loneliness, according to the recommendations.


Improving social connections has the potential to improve people’s overall abilities health and wellness And to prolong life, said the recommendation.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a recommendation on Tuesday titled “The Loneliness and Isolation Epidemic: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Recommendations for the Healing Effects of Social Connectivity and Community.”

“Large population studies show that among initially healthy people tracked over time, those who are more socially connected live longer, while those suffering from social problems such as isolation, loneliness and poor relationships It’s been demonstrated that people who experience the defect are nonetheless more likely to die sooner than the cause of death,” the Surgeon General wrote.

The effects of loneliness and isolation include smoking, alcohol consumption, high blood pressureobesity, air pollution, says the recommendation.

The public health director also argued that maintaining social connections can improve people’s educational and economic outcomes.

Beyond individual benefits, Dr. Murthy noted that social connections can improve health and success at the community level.

Multiple studies have shown that “social connections are essential not only to our individual physical, mental and emotional health, but also to the health and well-being of our communities.”

lonely man

About 50% of American adults report experiencing loneliness, according to new recommendations.

“Social cohesion is an important social determinant of health, and more broadly, population health, community resilience when natural disasters strike, community security, economic prosperity, and representative health. It is an important determinant of the well-being of communities, including (but not limited to) governments,” he added. .

In his advisory, the Surgeon General said the problem began well before COVID-19, but he admitted: the pandemic contributed To a decrease in social connections.

He explained how canceled celebrations, forced online education, family separations, unemployment, financial hardships and other restrictions have led to unprecedented feelings of loneliness and isolation.

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Dr. Marc Siegel Professor of Medicine NYU Langone Medical Center A Fox News medical contributor told Fox News Digital after speaking with Dr Murthy, “He thinks the country has had a tendency before and the pandemic has made it worse.”

Dr. Siegel agreed that the pandemic exacerbated the problem by forcing people to rely on social media as their primary form of connection and communication.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s create an infrastructure for solitude,'” Dr. Siegel said. “But how do you fight TikTok?”

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. I think the over-focus on the virus was done to rule out all these deep-seated social problems we have. .”

pandemic isolation

Dr. Mercy explained that canceled celebrations, forced online education, family separations, unemployment, financial hardships and other restrictions have led to unprecedented feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Dr. Gary Small, chief of psychiatry at Hackensack University Medical Center, said the pandemic has profoundly changed the way people interact and connect by forcing people to live in “invisible bubbles.” said. new jersey.

Dr Small told Fox News Digital:

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“We are social animals, and isolation – a lack of contact and face-to-face gatherings – contributes to loneliness, anxiety and depression. It also affects cognitive performance,” he continued. .

“What is concerning, as the Surgeon General said, is that loneliness and isolation continue even as the worst of the pandemic has passed and face-to-face interactions have largely returned.”

The Surgeon General said society should focus on six pillars as a means of improving social ties.

The first is “strengthening the social infrastructure of local communities.”

This includes things like sports programming. religious grouppublic transportation, volunteer organizations, recreational spaces, libraries, housing, education, etc., according to the recommendations.

teen phone

The pandemic has forced people to stay home and indoors, exacerbating loneliness issues. This has forced us to rely on social media as our primary form of connection and communication. Dr. Marc Siegel said:

Next, the Surgeon General called for “enacting public policies that promote connectivity,” involving government involvement in setting policies to strengthen social connectivity and communities.

“I agree that we need public policies that promote connection and recognize social isolation and loneliness as a de facto disease,” Dr. Siegel said.

For the third pillar, Dr. Murthy identified “Medical Sector Mobilization”. This requires training of health care providers, assessment and support of patients, and scaling up public health monitoring and interventions.

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“Transforming the Digital Environment” is Pillar 4 and calls for using technology in ways that minimize harm and promote healthy social connections.

“We have much to learn by demanding data transparency from technology companies,” said the chief surgeon. “This will allow us to understand the current and long-term impact on social connections and implement and enforce safety standards such as age-related youth protection that ensure our products do not exacerbate social disconnection. .”

Pillar 5 seeks to deepen our collective knowledge, with the goal of raising public awareness of the issue, increasing research funding and planning future research.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy suggested focusing on six pillars as a means of improving social connections.

Finally, the sixth pillar is the “cultivation of a connected culture.”

It focuses on showing “kindness, respect, service and dedication to each other,” writes Dr. Murthy. is also included.


Failure to improve social connections can come at a high price, warned Dr Marcy.

“We will continue to divide and divide until it becomes unbearable as a community and as a country,” he wrote. I will retreat. Angry, sick and lonely.”

Overall, Dr. Siegel said he believed the Surgeon General’s recommendations were a positive step in the right direction, but he was unsure if it would work.

“While this is a good idea, I am concerned that it will not affect social media and general trends in society.

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