Nearly half of Americans are lonely. Here’s how leading organizations are responding.

Clare Wirth and Tomi Ogundimu :

Decades of research substantiate the devastating effects of social isolation. Loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the risk of death by 26-45%, which is on par with risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and lack of exercise.

Learn more: How to integrate psychosocial risk factors into ongoing care

Isolation is not only unnerving, it is also widespread. Cigna’s recent survey of 20K+ people revealed 46% of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone. Although striking, this finding is not surprising to those following former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who has argued for years that the scale and impact of this issue make it an epidemic.

How leading organizations are addressing the loneliness epidemic