Former Surgeon General Doctor Vivek Murthy brought mental health to the forefront last September when he wrote in the Harvard Business Review that loneliness is a “growing health epidemic.” Now a recent survey by health service companyCigna adds to that by showing many Americans say they sometimes or always feel alone. The survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older revealed some alarming findings:
- Nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
- One in four Americans (27 percent) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
- Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others (43 percent).
- One in five people report they rarely or never feel close to people (20 percent) or feel like there are people they can talk to (18 percent).
Interestingly, Generation Z — those ages 18 to 22 — were the loneliest group in the survey, while adults 72 and older were the least lonely. “Loneliness is defined as a feeling of being alone or lacking social connectedness,” Dr. Douglas Nemecek, M.D., chief medical officer for Behavioral Health at Cigna, told CBS News. “At Cigna, we’ve been hearing more and more from our customers and individuals calling us that they’re feeling lonely, alone and disconnected from others.