Surgeon General lays out plan for 'epidemic of isolation'
This National Mental Health Month, the Surgeon General has laid out a plan to tackle what he is calling an epidemic of isolation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, things like loneliness and social isolation can be as harmful as high blood pressure or smoking cigarettes. Almost 80% of young people reported feeling lonely, according to a 2021 report from Cigna Group.
Nicole Montesanti runs a local counseling resource center in Brooklyn that offered discounted services during the pandemic for children and adults, lending a hand to those dealing with loneliness.
“Sometimes their body starts to hurt, they get really tired, they get headaches. All of those things kind of go hand in hand,” said Montesanti. “This major thing happened and now they're just expected to just go back into the world and function like they did before and that’s just not the case.”
This week, the U.S. Surgeon General shared a six-pillar plan for how the country can combat this issue, from investing in public socializing spaces to re-shaping how we live on the internet.
Montesanti says the government should also include making mental health care more accessible for the average American.
“They can't afford it in the world that we’re living, especially the last couple of years,” said Montesanti. “Even though it's an important part of your wellbeing, it’s just something that’s not in their budget.”