LA County to Tackle Residents’ “Loneliness”

Experts say America is facing an “epidemic” of loneliness. Research from Harvard University shows 36% of Americans, including 61% of young adults and 51% of young mothers, are experiencing “serious loneliness.” It’s a problem that was greatly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, California’s most populous county will study the issue. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last month to direct staff to research the impacts of loneliness and isolation on residents and examine ways the county can help.

“The increase in social isolation has been driven, in part, by the pandemic, when we were abiding by the safer-at-home order, spending time apart and away from loved ones,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times. “I do believe this issue is very pervasive — it might even be one of those ‘silent killers.’”

Solis introduced the motion, available here. It discusses the link between prolonged loneliness or isolation and ailments such as dementia, stroke, and heart disease. It also calls on the county to develop a comprehensive response.

The board’s vote is sure to reignite a debate about the proper role of government. Los Angeles is already grappling with enormous challenges. Many of these problems — like poverty, homelessness, and mental illness — arguably have a more direct impact on residents’ wellbeing.

How about you? Do you ever feel lonely? Be sure to check out this LA Times list of 21 places and experiences that will help you embrace the solitude.