WHO Declares Loneliness a Global Health Threat, Launches Commission for Action

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared loneliness a global issue and they’ve initiated an international commission to address the issue worldwide.

The WHO reportedly launched the Commission on Social Connection “to address loneliness as a pressing health threat, promote social connection as a priority and accelerate the scaling up of solutions in countries of all incomes.”

The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and African Union Youth Envoy Chido Mpemba are leading a group of “11 leading policy-makers, thought leaders and advocates,” to address loneliness globally.

“I am thrilled to work closely with an outstanding group of Commissioners on advancing social connection – a vital component of well-being. Together, we can build a world that is less lonely, healthier, and more resilient,” Murthy said in a statement.

“Given the profound health and societal consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an obligation to make the same investments in rebuilding the social fabric of society that we have made in addressing other global health concerns, such as tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis.“

“Young people are not immune to loneliness. Social isolation can affect anyone, of any age, anywhere,” said Mpemba.

“Across Africa and beyond, we must redefine the narrative around loneliness,” she continued. “Investments in social connection are critical to creating productive, resilient and stable economies that promote the well-being of current and future generations.”

The commission, led by Dr. Murthy, will examine the impact of loneliness on physical and mental health over the next three years. Murthy compares its effects to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, surpassing the impact of obesity and neglecting physical health.

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