Former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy made news this week with his crusade against loneliness. That's right, loneliness.
Murthy he calls the problem an "epidemic" and a serious mental health issue in America.
Longer hours at work and more time in front of computers and smartphones are two main reasons for the uptick in loneliness.
Some local businesses are recognizing there is a pervasive loneliness problem in their workplaces and are implementing programs to combat it. One such company is Nationwide Title Clearing in Palm Harbor. It hired Gina Morales to help employees feel a connection to each other.
"We spend more time with our coworkers than our family," says Morales. "My job here is to make sure people are connecting in a much bigger way than just being your cubemate."
Morales helped orchestrate ping-pong and softball events, paint nights for female employees, even a newsletter that highlights hobbies and interests. The goal is to make workers feel like more family member than an employee number.
"They really feel a sense of belonging and it actually produces better and more productive employees," says Morales. "You're not just talking about coffee and TV shows. You're talking about something you experience together."
If you're feeling lonely and would like some help, we found a few articles offering simple ways to enjoy more out of life: