What is the U.S. Surgeon General epidemic of loneliness and isolation?Jul 30, 2023
In May of 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report on the epidemic of loneliness and isolation within the United States. The report outlined the scientific research behind this claim. One-in-two adults in America report they are experiencing loneliness. “The harmful consequences of a society that lacks social connection can be felt in our schools, workplace, and civic organizations, where performance, productivity, and engagement are diminished.” This is where coaching is strongest, in resolving this disconnection. Coaches focus on their clients’ performance, productivity, and engagement.
According to the report, loneliness harms both individual and societal health. The long arm of social disconnection reaches throughout schools, workplaces, and civic organizations. The profound health consequences are linked to greater rates of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, obesity, physical inactivity, and premature death. These lifestyle-related chronic illnesses are the focus of health and wellness coaches who can make a real difference.
The U.S. Surgeon General has issued a call to action to all sectors that make up the social fabric of our nation. The solution to loneliness and isolation is in the hands of individuals and families, schools and workplaces, health care and government, and faith-based organizations and communities. Otherwise, the U.S. Surgeon General’s dire warning suggests we will splinter and divide until we can no longer stand as a community or a country. If we do not answer this call, then we will retreat to our corners - angry, sick, and alone. Unfortunately, this stark forecast is already a train barreling out of control. According to the CDC, 70% of all deaths are caused by chronic disease.
A profound threat to our health and well-being is upon us now. While social connection has been considered an individual challenge, the U.S. Surgeon General makes it clear that it is a societal problem that requires the attention of governments, health care systems, insurers, philanthropy, schools, workplaces, community-based organizations, and big business. It is as much a societal problem as an individual problem.
The issues of chronic illness continue to fester without attention to clients’ loneliness and isolation. Trauma-informed coaches, with an emphasis on health and wellness coaching, have the opportunity to take the lead in the solution. Mentor Agility’s trauma-informed coaching approach provides specific skill sets to restore a connection in the community, workplace, and home. The connection restoration begins almost instantaneously.
The Veterans Talking to Veterans program (an application of Mentor Agility’s Trauma-Informed Coaching Certification) instituted in Wyoming solves loneliness and isolation. It creates a social infrastructure of Veteran volunteers in the community who connect individuals together in meaningful ways. Deep connection rooted in the proprietary process leads to the motivation to make healthier choices.