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United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country.
The consequences of poor or insufficient connection include a 29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia for older adults. In addition, loneliness and isolation contribute substantially to mental health challenges. And with more than one in five adults and more than one in three young adults living with a mental illness in the U.S., addressing loneliness and isolation is critical in order to fully address the mental health crisis in America.
Among the Surgeon General’s Advisory framework for the United States to establish a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection:
Strengthen Social Infrastructure: Connections are not just influenced by individual interactions, but by the physical elements of a community (parks, libraries, playgrounds). Communities must design environments that promote connection, establish and scale community connection programs, and invest in institutions that bring people together.
Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies: Establishing policies like accessible public transportation or paid family leave that can support and enable more connection among a community or a family.
Mobilize the Health Sector: Ensure that health care providers are well-positioned to assess patients for risk of loneliness and intervene.
Reform Digital Environments: We must critically evaluate our relationship with technology and ensure that how we interact digitally does not detract from meaningful and healing connection with others.
Ma Deuce Deuce (MA22.org) is dedicated to providing information and education regarding the network of services available for military veterans classified with special needs, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other disabilities, and providing the opportunity to experience treatment outside of the Veteran Affairs (VA) Administration facilities and programs at no cost to the veteran.
MA22 will provide this network to these veterans in an effort to eradicate the estimated 22 daily veteran suicide epidemic.