California County Makes “Loneliness” A Public Health Emergency

( – San Mateo County in California has just announced that they would be declaring a public health emergency for loneliness. As a part of a resolution that was set on January 30, the county declared loneliness a public health crisis.

Supervisor David Canepa wrote on X, “San Mateo County was the first in the nation to declare loneliness a public health crisis after the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution my office authored Tuesday.” He continued by saying “Loneliness has a profound impact on health and is comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.”

Canepa continued, suggesting that California should enforce a “Minister of Loneliness”, who would focus on helping those who are “suffering in silence and it would restore the meaningful connections that were lost during the pandemic.”

In a post on X, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy stated, “When I released my Surgeon General’s Advisory on loneliness, I outlined what localities can do to promote connection. Grateful to San Mateo County for becoming the first county in America to recognize loneliness as a public health emergency.”

Murthy had originally spoken out about loneliness before and the health effects that it has on the body. He said that it can result in heart attack, depression, and even early death. “Loneliness is absolutely a public health emergency, and the consequences are dire for both mental and also physical health,” he said.

Many touched on the impacts of social media and technology on the communities around them. They stated that it’s important for states to recognize the shift in community after the pandemic and do things to combat the loneliness in the communities.

This declaration from California makes it the first state in the United States to label loneliness as a health emergency, but we can expect other states to follow suit.

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