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Saturday February 24, 2024

Loneliness declared health emergency in Silicon Valley

Loneliness is a state of mind linked to seeking human contact but not having anyone around

By Web Desk
February 03, 2024
A representational image of a girl sitting alone and feeling lonely. — Pixabay
A representational image of a girl sitting alone and feeling lonely. — Pixabay

We humans are sociable animals. While it’s normal to feel lonely sometimes, we thrive within relationships and communities of people.

Loneliness is a state of mind linked to seeking human contact but not having anyone around. It is different from being alone, you may feel content being alone, but others might feel lonely.

Loneliness and poor mental health are often interlinked, long duration of loneliness can lead to poor mental health, which is why in California’s San Mateo County, Silicon Valley, loneliness has been declared a health emergency, NBC News reported.

It is the first country in the US to take such a step.

The county's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution earlier this week that declared loneliness a public health crisis and pledged to explore measures that promote social connection in the community.

David Canepa, the Board of Supervisors’ vice president, who introduced the legislation, said that the resolution signals the country’s commitment to address the issues and validate residents' feelings.

An abundance of research has outlined serious health consequences associated with loneliness, including an increased risk of dementia, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and stroke.

According to the Campaign To End Loneliness, loneliness increases the risk of early mortality by 26%.

It is reportedly higher in people who are 16 to 24 years old. Research shows that heavy social media use can increase feelings of loneliness.

Ways to deal with loneliness

  • Find creative ways to keep in touch: Video chats, schedule calls, write letters.
  • Engage with communities, online and offline: Join clubs, play multiplayer games, try social apps, and attend local events.
  • Help others: Volunteer work.
  • Go outside: Walk, eat out, sit in the park, be a tourist in your city.
  • Talk to yourself: Journaling, repeating affirmations.
  • Prioritise yourself: Find a new hobby, get active, make a routine, and exercise.
  • Take professional help: Therapy.