A Deep Dive into Loneliness and Social Isolation

The discussion on loneliness and social isolation in media is on the rise. Quartz addresses this topic in their daily deep dive (called Obsession) and presented some startling facts: 

  • $7 billion: Amount the US government spends in extra health care costs associated with social isolation among Americans aged 65 or older.
  • 75%: Proportion of doctors in the UK say who say between one and five people come to their practices a day whose main ailment is loneliness.
  • 22%-50%: Proportion of the US population estimated to be socially disconnected.

Many governments are starting to recognize the impact of loneliness and social isolation on work,  health and civic engagement. While institutions have an important role to play in generating awareness and targeting programs and policies to address this issue, it is up to each and every one of us to be a part of the solution. As former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy puts it, “We can be the medicine that each other needs.”