Loneliness and social isolation are becoming bigger social problems, despite the fact that we have better technology and social media to keep us connected to one another. There are reasons to believe that loneliness can lead to health problems such as decreased immunity, poor sleep, and cardiovascular issues like hypertension.
In the U.S., a psychologist is advocating for students to start learning how to build and maintain friendships and relationships. What she advocates for is having social support and empathy skills built into the school curriculum to better equip students to form stronger social ties with others. In addition, strategies to reframe negative responses to social situations are recommended to cope better with various social situations.
Read the full article on The Atlantic: To Prevent Loneliness, Start in the Classroom
Schools should consider the recommendation to teach social skills in the classroom as it is one preventive measure of mental health issues in later stages of life. Without the ability to cultivate strong social or family ties, it may be difficult for one to handle intense life stressors and may eventually lead to negative mental health states.
Youth and children are also experiencing a myriad of troubling issues such as academic stress and cyberbullying on social media. It is essential to have other students around who can display sensitivity and empathy to their friends who are struggling and offer help or support. With students spending the majority of their day in school, it is helpful that they should be taught life skills to cope with social situations.
The ability to form strong relationships helps one combat loneliness in later years. It is found that young adults are one of the loneliest groups in society, but it is not necessarily because they are single or living alone. On the contrary, a closer look at singles and those living alone revealed that they are better at keeping themselves socially connected, or savour being alone, without feeling lonely.
Questions for further personal evaluation:
- Do you think having a curriculum to teach social skills should be implemented?
- What are the consequences of social isolation and loneliness?
- ‘alienation’: a sense of isolation from the environment
- ‘tethered’: tied to; to restrict movement
- ‘insular’: lacking contact with other people