The current pandemic is clearly causing serious health problems for many people who’ve contracted the coronavirus, but less appreciated is that it’s also causing some very serious mental health issues for those who haven’t tested positive for COVID-19, loneliness being chief among them. At a time when many have separated themselves or been separated from friends and family out of virus fears, loneliness can seem like a natural side effect. Yet even prior to the pandemic, people in the United States reported experiencing more loneliness than ever before. Recent research suggests loneliness can be lethal according to a report by the American Psychological Association. Here’s how it happens: Persistent loneliness causes stress, which increases the body’s production of a protein called fibrinogen. An excessive amount of fibrinogen can clog arteries, increase blood pressure, and make people more susceptible to heart disease.
Millennials, called by some the loneliest generation, are especially at risk of experiencing social isolation according to recent data from YouGov, which found that members of Generation Y have far fewer social relationships than their forebears: 30% of respondents said they didn’t have a best friend; 27% said they had few close friends; 22% said they had no friends at all, and an astonishing 25% said they didn’t even have any acquaintances. What a sad commentary on the state of our society!
Thankfully, the Scriptures provide a solution for loneliness for those who are willing to live according to G-d’s Instruction: Seeking relationship with G-d and seeking relationship with others within a spiritual community is an imperative, not a suggestion when convenient! Something to think about!
Forward for Messiah,
Rabbi & Director