There’s a mass epidemic of loneliness in America right now, but people don’t have the right categories and hooks for how to think about the problems we face at this time. ~ Senator Ben Sasse
Loneliness is also creating a long-term health crisis. New studies show that it can shorten lifespans in a way similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even increases mortality rates at higher rates than obesity. Lonely individuals experience reductions in reasoning and creativity, cognitive abilities, workplace productivity, and is commonly correlated with mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and suicidality.
Despite persuasive evidence from physiologist and self-reported studies of our need for connection and the clear influence on our physiology, there is a worldwide epidemic of disconnection that largely regarded as a mental problem and not one deeply influenced by how we live and work.
Studies have found that working too often or not enough contributed to loneliness, making workplaces a significant source for fostering social relationships and directly affecting relational well-being.“There is an inherent link between loneliness and the workplace, with employers in a unique position to be a critical part of the solution,” according to Douglas Nemecek, chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna.
The data points to a serious cause for concern. Suicide rates have risen as much as 33% since 1999 across age, gender, race and ethnicity. In more than half of all deaths, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives.