In an effort to combat loneliness as a serious health risk, prioritize social connection, and quicken the implementation of solutions across all economic levels, the World Health Organization has announced the formation of a new commission on social connection.
This was disclosed by the WHO in a press release that our journalist was able to access on Thursday.
The African Union Youth Envoy, Chido Mpemba, and U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, co-chair the Commission, which is made up of eleven prominent policymakers, advocates, and thought leaders.
The commission, which has a three-year term, will examine how important social connections are for enhancing health in all age groups and will provide recommendations for large-scale social connection building.
The Commission will also take into account the ways in which connectivity promotes social growth, economic advancement, and innovation while also improving the quality of life in our communities and society.
The organization observed that loneliness and social isolation, or the lack of enough social ties and the resulting social discomfort, are pervasive.
“Social isolation affects one in four senior citizens, and rates are generally comparable across all areas. Research data indicate that 5–15 percent of teenagers report feeling lonely. But these numbers are probably underestimates, according to the global health organization.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus noted that high rates of social isolation and loneliness around the world have serious consequences for health and wellbeing.
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“People without enough strong social connections are at higher risk of stroke, anxiety, dementia, depression, suicide and more. This WHO Commission will help establish social connection as a global health priority and share the most promising interventions,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.
The organisation said lack of social connection carries an equivalent, or even greater, risk of early death as other better-known risk factors – such as smoking, excessive drinking, physical inactivity, obesity, and air pollution.
The increasing rates of social isolation and loneliness throughout the world have detrimental effects on people’s health and wellbeing, according to Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“Strong social ties reduce a person’s risk of stroke, anxiety, dementia, depression, suicide, and other illnesses. In addition to disseminating the most beneficial interventions, this WHO Commission will assist in making social connectedness a global health priority, according to Dr. Ghebreyesus.
According to the organisation, there is an equal or higher chance of premature mortality associated with a lack of social connections as there is with other well-known risk factors including smoking, binge drinking, physical inactivity, obesity, and air pollution.