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Blueprint for Social Connection: US Surgeon General Advisory

In May, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released an Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community. Why is this issue important enough to warrant an Advisory? Here are some statistics to consider.

  • Strong social connections improve population health, reducing the risk of premature mortality, diabetes, stroke, heart and more.

  • Immersion in local activities and relationships significantly increases the likelihood of unemployed individuals becoming employed.

  • Adults who report rarely feeling lonely experience better mental health. Adults who report often feeling lonely are twice as likely to develop depression.

  • Children and adolescents who enjoy positive relationships experience improved academic outcomes.

Against this backdrop, the Advisory lays out some key findings, including:

  • We are wired for social connection, but we’ve become more isolated over time. Today, loneliness is more widespread than other major health issues in the U.S. Our epidemic of isolation is a major public health concern.

  • Social connection significantly improves the health and well-being of all individuals. Social connection reduces the risk of premature death, predicts better physical and mental health and educational and economic achievement.

  • Social connection is vital to community health and success. Socially connected communities enjoy better population-level health. They are more resilient when disaster strikes, and they experience greater economic prosperity and reduced levels of crime and violence.

  • Together, we can advance social connection and improve our nation’s public health. Our actions today can create sustainable changes to society and bring better health to all.

Based on these findings, the advisory puts forth the Six Pillars to Advance Social Connection, as noted below. The following six pillars describe key areas of intervention to build social connection and wellbeing.

  • Strengthen Social Infrastructure in Local Communities

  • Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies

  • Mobilize the Health Sector

  • Reform Digital Environments

  • Deepen Our Knowledge

  • Build a Culture of Connection

Critical to this strategy is strengthening social infrastructure in local communities and building a culture of connection. This is exactly what Great Lakes Urban has been advocating for and working on. Our strategy of equipping and deploying Neighborhood Connectors is crucial to catalyzing the healing effects of social connection and the power of community.

Learn more about the advisory at:

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