STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Loneliness is making teenagers sick

Youth in the United States are considered to be the loneliest in the world.That's according to former Surgeon ...

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 3:10 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 3:10 PM

Youth in the United States are considered to be the loneliest in the world.

That's according to former Surgeon General Doctor Vivek Murthy.

He describes loneliness as "the subjective feeling of having inadequate social connections".

Those feelings and thoughts are toxic and making our youth physically, emotionally, and mentally sick.

Lillian Holley is a psychologist, counselor and director of special education for Bossier Parish Schools. She says,

"The problems get more and more serious every year. Some of the issues of broken homes, drugs, addiction issues, incarceration issues."

While adolescence should be the happiest time in a child's life, more than 50-percent of teenagers are dealing with issues that cause them to feel isolated and alone.

And the rate of loneliness has doubled since the 80's. Even worse, loneliness causes stress, which increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf says, "We get multiple ways that our physical body can break down. But also there's the mind where the frustration, depression, all those adjectives are the side-effects so people pull away."

Dr. Leaf studies the mind/brain connection. She says 75 to 98 percent of diseases come from our thought life. She adds, "When we think, feel, and choose, we are changing and influencing every single cell in our body."

With technology and social media we're neglecting our desperate need to connect with others. Without real human connection, Dr. Leaf says, "You will react in anger if you feel like you're useless and you don't count. We have to become human again.

Because we are all busy with our own lives, we've got this loneliness epidemic. We're caught up on our cell phones, we've become an individualistic society."

Bossier Parish schools have a mentor program to help ease the loneliness epidemic. Each student has an adult mentor because they want kids to have someone to talk to.

A simple solution to help kids in crisis become emotionally healthy adults. Dr. Leaf says, "It's really easy to sit and listen to someone and to listen in love. If we change our thoughts we can actually improve the health of our brain and body."

Researchers say loneliness is now a major public health issue and represents a greater health risk than obesity and is as destructive as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 113081

Reported Deaths: 3231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7850176
DeSoto685779
Harrison505083
Jackson445084
Rankin388186
Madison377993
Lee350779
Forrest299578
Jones287784
Washington255199
Lafayette245943
Lauderdale2418134
Lamar221238
Bolivar200177
Oktibbeha199354
Neshoba1831111
Lowndes176362
Panola169038
Leflore165187
Sunflower159749
Warren153655
Monroe147372
Pontotoc145819
Marshall139227
Lincoln138557
Pike137756
Copiah136236
Coahoma124736
Scott124729
Grenada121138
Yazoo120733
Simpson120449
Union116525
Tate114939
Leake114340
Holmes114160
Pearl River112259
Itawamba112125
Adams106743
Prentiss103719
Wayne99821
Alcorn98112
George97718
Covington95326
Marion93542
Tippah88121
Newton85227
Chickasaw83626
Tallahatchie83025
Winston82821
Tishomingo80041
Hancock79827
Attala78926
Clarke73450
Clay68321
Jasper67717
Walthall63627
Calhoun61912
Noxubee59617
Smith58916
Montgomery53523
Claiborne53316
Tunica52817
Yalobusha51914
Lawrence50714
Perry48623
Carroll47612
Greene46918
Stone46214
Humphreys42616
Amite42113
Quitman4196
Jefferson Davis40011
Webster37013
Wilkinson33520
Benton3255
Kemper32015
Sharkey28014
Jefferson27410
Franklin2373
Choctaw2046
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 154942

Reported Deaths: 2660
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather