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A New Challenge to Combat Loneliness and Isolation

December 04, 2023

The federal government has launched a new initiative to help Americans combat an epidemic of loneliness and isolation.

Today, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced the launch of the “5-for-5 Connection Challenge,” calling on Americans to take five actions over five days to build more connection in their lives. The challenge follows a recent surgeon general’s advisory that focused on our growing epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.

“Our relationships are foundational to our health and well-being, but nearly one in two adults experience measurable levels of loneliness,” Murthy said. “People across the country often tell me that they want to find tangible ways to better connect with the people in their lives, which is why I am issuing a national 5-for-5 Connection Challenge.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • About:  From today through December 15, the challenge asks people “to take five actions over five days that express gratitude, offer support to, or ask for help from people in their lives.”
  • What to do:  There are many ways to participate, including sending a note of encouragement or gratitude to someone in your life; offering support or help; or letting someone know you're having a hard time.
  • The issue:  The pandemic has accelerated trends in declining social participation, with the average time spent left alone increasing about 24 hours per month from 2003 through 2020, according to the surgeon general’s recent call to action earlier this year.
    • During 2021, young adults were almost twice as likely to report feeling lonely as those over the age of 65.
  • For help:  If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available. The 988 lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources.
  • Quotable:  “The three types of actions for the challenge—expressing gratitude, offering support, and asking for help—can help deepen the relationships we have with others and strengthen our bonds,” Murthy said.

To learn more about the challenge, visit the official challenge webpage. A connection challenge toolkit also is available.