Unlikely Bipartisan Pairing Tackles “Epidemic Of Loneliness”

(NewsSpace.com) – With the abundance of technology available at our fingertips today, it’s easy to make connections with other people across the world. You can play games together, chat about topics you have in common, or even arrange meetups. Yet, despite this ability, a 2023 report issued by US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy shows that 50% of American adults are lonely. Now, two lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle have joined together to tackle the issue.

What Is the “Epidemic of Loneliness?”

Loneliness is different than being alone. It’s a feeling within that leads to someone feeling as though they have few people, if any in their lives, and they feel as though they are “isolated, invisible, and insignificant.” As Murthy pointed out in the report, it can harm societal and individual health and lead to serious or chronic health issues — and it’s everywhere.

The report addresses how societal connections can affect one’s health and well-being, as well as communities. He also discusses six pillars to help one integrate into society.

Lawmakers Join Forces

Last summer, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) decided to take to the Senate floor to discuss the loneliness issue. He said it sparked many questions, but few answers as to how to solve the crisis. In a piece in The Bulwark, Murphy asked: “How can we feel lonelier in a world where connection to other human beings now requires only a click of a button?” It turns out the Connecticut senator wasn’t the only lawmaker looking for solutions.

Enter Utah Governor Spencer Cox (R). Murphy reached out to the leader of the Beehive State, and the two joined forces. They now hold regular roundtable discussions, striving to understand the complexity of the issue before coming up with solutions. Murphy spoke about Cox, saying he’s admired “the governor’s work for years,” especially his trying “to draw our kids away from this culture of withdrawal that has been created by” technology and addictive apps. The governor has signed legislation limiting technology for those under 18, citing data that emphasizes the effect social media and cellphone use has on children.

The pair have also consulted with specialists across the country to gain an understanding of the various issues — gun violence, the economy, polarizing politics, to name a few — that are seen as contributing to social isolation.

Turning to Cox may have merit, because last year, Utah was ranked the happiest state in the country. The governor also used his own experiences as a child of divorced parents and a “really dark time” in his youth. He credits the community members who took an interest and lifted him up for getting through it. Now he wants to pay that back.

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