Loneliness is often defined as the distressing feeling generated by a lack of meaningful, intimate, and reciprocal interactions. One might describe it as emotional isolation. Exacerbated by its gross under-recognition, loneliness is rapidly emerging as the great public health crisis of our time. Academic research and an onslaught of headline news reveal that loneliness is to suicide, addiction, bullying, obesity, gastro-intestinal disease, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hematological conditions, and more, as poor hygiene is to infection. While loneliness is not the only cause of these and other consequences, it is a highly significant one. Loneliness can be, in a word, deadly. Just as the loss of millions of lives to infection in the 14th and 19th centuries required combating terrifyingly poor hygiene, today we must battle loneliness to prevent a public health catastrophe, both economically and personally. While many organizations throughout our country are deeply dedicated to preventing and battling the consequences of loneliness and supporting our communities, The Cost of Loneliness Project™ seeks to provide a unifying voice to recognize and combat loneliness across all demographics. It is our current healthcare imperative.
Between 25-45% of American adults report being chronically lonely. (Fortune, June 2016)
Loneliness increases the odds of a premature death by 26%. (J. Cacioppo, Univ. of Chicago)