Tri-State mental health leaders discuss ways to combat loneliness
Loneliness poses risks as deadly as smoking, U.S. surgeon general says
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The U.S. surgeon general shared this week that loneliness across the country poses health risks as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes.
According to the report, nearly half of American adults have experienced loneliness.
Emily Reidford, the vice president of community outreach and education at Easterseals, shares that loneliness and isolation have always been an issue related to mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic certainly exasperated and shed light on loneliness and isolation. Loneliness impacts people by simply feeling isolated or alone and not making efforts to seek out supportive and positive connections where they are able to talk about what they are experiencing emotionally.
Reidford says loneliness impacts a wide demographic from the elderly, who aren’t able to get out and connect with others, to children only connecting on social media and not in person.
“It’s more about the quality of those connections and not the quantity of connections,” Reidford said. “We can hear people say I can be in a crowd with people, hundreds of people all day and still feel isolated and alone.”
Reidford recommends combating lonely feelings, saying it’s important to get out and be social.
She encourages people to also reach out to someone, put it on your to-do list to call a friend or family member or pay them a visit.
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