Social isolation, more commonly known as loneliness, is a growing concern worldwide. In the United States, about half of adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness even before the COVID-19 pandemic. As stated in the Surgeon General’s Report, entitled, "Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation,” published in the Spring of 2023 – “Loneliness is far more than just a bad feeling—it harms both individual and societal health. It is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and even greater than that associated with obesity and physical inactivity. “ Don't Go It Alone will provide you with random strategies to counter loneliness and a way to focus on those strategies you wish to implement. To fully experience its potential, you need to register using a first name. Once registered, you can choose to log any of the strategies that you are considering doing into a database so you can retrieve them whenever you wish. In essence, the implementation of these strategies in your life is making a change in your behavior. Making such behavior changes is a process that many psychologists believe is accomplished by working through several stages. Don't Go It Alone uses the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of behavior change to help you go through the process. The Transtheoretical Model states that to make a change in our behavior, such as adopting new habits, we go through five stages:
PRECONTEMPLATION - In this stage, you may not even feel you need to use this strategy to counter loneliness. CONTEMPLATION - In this stage, you consider all the pros and cons, becoming more convinced that it is in your best interests to try to use this strategy to fight loneliness. PLANNING - During this stage, you put together the steps necessary to implement the strategy and prepare to act on it in the next stage, the Action Stage. ACTION - The Action Stage is where you begin to do the strategy. It lasts for 6 months before you move to the Maintenance Stage.
MAINTENANCE - This is the stage where you continue to perform the strategy beyond the initial 6 months.
Registered or not, you can learn about each of these, by saying, "Tell me about Precontemplation," for example. Don’t Go It Alone enables you, if registered, to assign each of your logged strategies to any of these stages and update that assignment as you move forward in formulating & enacting your strategies. You first ask for a list of your logged strategies and from that numbered list you then ask to update the numbered strategy. In addition, regardless of registration status, you can hear a random fact about loneliness from the dozen created by the Surgeon General’s Advisory Council by saying, “Tell me a random loneliness fact.” Finally, if registered, you can set up a reminder to revisit Don’t Go It Alone periodically to hear new strategies, log those of interest to you, and update your stage of change associated with them. With Don’t Go It Alone you’ll be able to stay on track developing & implementing your strategies to counter feelings of isolation and loneliness in your life. The information in this Skill is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Call your doctor or the 988 crisis line to receive medical advice about loneliness or depression. If you think you may have a medical emergency, please dial your local emergency response phone number. In the United States, that is 911. Reference:
Link to U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory - Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf
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