The surgeon general of the United States was in San Francisco Monday to talk about the epidemic of loneliness, an issue the doctor has championed for years.
“There’s a shame that comes with loneliness,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.
He first detected what he calls “the loneliness epidemic” during his first term as surgeon general in the Obama Administration, when people approached him at town hall meetings.
“They would say things like, ‘I feel like I carry all these burdens in my life by myself’ or ‘I feel if I disappear tomorrow nobody would care,’” said Murthy.
The surgeon general said COVID protocols, like social distancing and working from home, exacerbated the epidemic by reducing social interactions, though some found new fulfilling family relationships that were not available pre-pandemic.
He also recalled the many end-of-life moments he’s had with patients.
“They talked about their relationships, the ones that brought them joy, the ones that broke their hearts, the ones they had wished they'd spent more time with,” said Murthy.
Those present said the main takeaway was the power of love.
“When he talked about how all of us need love, we are worthy of love and capable of loving people back,” said Prameela Boorada.
“What our kids need to know is their self-worth comes not from wealth, power and fame- their true self-worth comes from their God-given natural ability to give and receive love,” said Murthy.