"How Social Isolation is Killing Us" - A Commentary

Read the full article in The New York Times.

It is a bleak headline for sure. But this is perhaps one of the most important articles that I recently read. Some of you may think that it's stating the obvious – that loneliness affects physical and mental health; that loneliness is a growing problem: especially among the elderly, and that social isolation needs to be addressed among society is loneliest individuals. 

The piece of the article that I found most compelling was the information it contains regarding programs that are being developed to address the issue of social isolation and loneliness. Such programs can be developed in communities all around the country by professionals inspired by the articles research. The author also states that individuals do not have to commit a great deal of time to lonely individuals in order to make a huge difference. This is a very important piece of information, as many people may think they have to devote excessive amounts of time in the midst of an already busy schedule. But that's not true, as the article states. Giving even an hour or two a week to an elderly person, a disabled person, or anyone played by loneliness can significantly impact their life in a positive way.

Finally, the end of the article speaks to the significance of the digital age. Although most of us are extraordinarily connected to our mobile devices and social media, this does not replace the one-on-one connection that comes from sitting across the table from someone and having a conversation, playing a game, or serving a meal. 

If we all make a small contribution, we could make a very profound difference in alleviating loneliness as a contributor to poor physical and mental health. We can help promote emotional well-being, and possibly even prolong the lives of others while we are improving their quality of life.