Not only are Americans stressed and anxious, we’re also lonely. Loneliness is becoming a national health epidemic. According to a research study from Cigna, about 50 percent of U.S. adults feel alone or left out always or sometimes. This is at a time where the majority of American adults are on social media. Facebook’s mission and supposed focus on building community isn’t sufficient. Community does not necessarily correspond with connection. In fact, this article states that people who have face to face social interactions are not as depressed or at risk of suicide compared to those using social media.
Loneliness has health consequences, as articulated in this article from The New York Times. Research has also shown that loneliness has as much negative impact on physical health and longevity as long-term smoking and obesity.
While social isolation can be a problem for older adults and has been shown to have negative health consequences, this research suggests loneliness is more of an issue for today’s young people.
Finally, this isn’t a problem just in the U.S. The U.K. recently announced the creation of a new minister post focused on loneliness, and Japan has been developing robots to engage with its elderly population.
The Consumer Forecast: Help me build real and meaningful relationships, community, and connection with others.