Loneliness is an epidemic

When we are less invested in one another, we are more susceptible to polarisation and less able to pull together to face the challenges that we cannot solve alone – from climate change and gun violence to economic inequality and future pandemics. As it has built for decades, the epidemic of loneliness and isolation has fuelled other problems that are killing us.

These are the views of Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general. He wants us to renegotiate our relationship with technology, creating space in our lives without our devices so can be present with one another. That also means choosing not to take part in online dialogues that amplify judgment and hate instead of understanding.

We have to take steps in our personal lives to rebuild our connection to one another – and small steps can make a big difference. This is medicine hiding in plain sight: Evidence shows that connection is linked to better heart health, brain health and immunity. We should seek opportunities to serve others recognising that helping people is one of the most powerful antidotes to loneliness.

Addressing the crisis of loneliness and isolation is one of our generation’s greatest challenges. By building more connected lives and more connected communities, we can strengthen the foundation of our individual and collective well-being and we can be better poised to respond to the threats we are facing as a nation.

He rightly says that our need for human connection is like our need for food and water: essential for our survival.

The above sane advice is so relevant to the current acrimonious environment posing a mortal threat to our state and society.

Tariq Khosa
Director CGR
5 May 2023