Worried about the societal effects of increasing social isolation, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to begin an effort to combat loneliness.
Supervisor Hilda Solis led the charge.
“The increase in loneliness is almost paradoxical. We are more connected than ever through technology, but it is clear that social media cannot replace relationships with family, friends, and community,” Solis said. “Studies show that millions of Americans are socially isolated, lonely, or both, negatively impacting the quality of life and health outcomes.”
Solis pointed to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s interest in loneliness as a public health issue, as explained in his book “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.”
Loneliness can lead to increases in drug addiction and violence, Solis said.
The board called for a preliminary report on how county departments and agencies should work with other public, private and faith-based organizations to develop a plan to combat the effects of social isolation. Measures could include public awareness campaigns, an array of programs at parks and senior centers as well as expanded mental health services.