Who can you call when you’re having a bad day?

Who can you call when you’re having a bad day?

The U.S. Surgeon General says there’s a loneliness epidemic, a declaration that comes at a time when the devices throughout your home, office, backpack and purse make it easier than ever to communicate with others.

“There is a generation now who will tell you they have 1,500 followers on TikTok and, of those, may consider several hundred of them to be friends,” Dr. Jada Johnson, a psychiatrist with Advocate Health Care, recently told the Chicago Tribune.

But are those real friends? People you can depend on?

“I break it down to this,” Dr. Johnson told the Tribune. “Who can you call if you’re having a bad day? And that’s when the list gets small, and people start to talk about feeling lonely. When they have to bear the weight of whatever their struggle is all alone, that amplifies feelings of loneliness.”

The Surgeon General report found that society’s lack of social connections will have dire implications on collective health and well-being. According to the report, about half of U.S. adults say they’ve experienced loneliness. Those who experience social withdrawal increase their risk of premature death by 30%. They also are at an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

So what can you do about it?

You may need to put intentional effort into making real, in-person connections with other people, even when doing so feels difficult. If this feels especially difficult, you can seek out professional help.

“I push that sense of proximity,” Dr. Johnson told the Tribune. “It’s great to join an online group but it’s important to go to in-person things. Yes, life is super busy, and you can talk on the phone with someone for 45 minutes and, fine, you’ve checked in. But if you go to their house and sit with them for 20 minutes, those minutes just feel so much more profound. That sense of connectedness is amplified.”

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  1. This article is good I have trouble making friends I’m shy always negative maybe I’m bore I feel sad I have no one to talk too I have no friends I don’t work I’m funny easy going friendly I wish it could be easy making friends never I think hurting myself God No I love life I love Jesus is just difficult talking to people keeping friends God is my only Friend I’m Christian

    • This is a good article. At times I also feel the same, shy, negative, bored. It is hard making friends. I wonder if there is a way we can connect.

  2. I can not get out ,because of my age a some health issues and no way to get any where..

    • It’s good to get out regardless of age. It is physical and mental therapy. Just a walk around the block helps. I also like going to the park. Try scheduling a Senior Citizen bus to the location you want to go visit. Check with the Senior Helpline and the Dept of Aging.

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About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.