With the exception of America, suicide rates over recent decades have declined in most of the world. Suicides in the U.S. have risen more than 50% from 2005 to 2017 and now exceed deaths by motor vehicle incidents. In 2017, the most recent year data is available, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 10.6 million people seriously considered suicide, 1.4 million attempted suicide and 47,000 committed suicide.
Loneliness is a growing problem in U.S. society, but fortunately it is one that is beginning to receive the attention that it deserves. I had the privilege of contributing comments to a recent article published by SmartBrief, which explored the impact of loneliness and how organizations can address it.
Read the full article and consider what steps you can take to address the problem of loneliness in your community.
By Michael Lee Stallard and Katharine P. Stallard
It is customary for your doctor to ask you how you are doing when he or she enters the exam room. We’ve come to expect it. Typically, it is the opening question in a conversation to assess how you are really doing. But how often do you ask your doctor the same question?
Are you addicted to your smartphone? Do you feel the pull to constantly check your messages and news feeds?
Are you addicted to busyness? As soon as you accomplish something, do you immediately focus on the next task or problem to solve? Are you always thinking about what you have coming up and so it’s difficult to be present with and focused on interacting with others?
Studies show the continued growth in the number of people who are lonely, which has reached epidemic levels in many countries.
Recently, my wife, Katie, and I had the opportunity to teach a Connection Culture Workshop for the Institute for Management Studies in Columbus, Ohio. Mary Held, head of IMS Columbus, made us aware of this outstanding brief on the global loneliness epidemic published by The Week. I encourage you to read the brief and consider the steps you could take to reduce loneliness in your workplace and community.
Loneliness isn’t something that people like to acknowledge, but it’s a real issue for many people today. Many leaders are so busy that they don’t even realize that they are in fact lonely. That’s a problem because loneliness is a “super stressor” that makes it difficult to perform at your best.
In a new article that I wrote for Forbes, I describe how loneliness is affecting today’s leaders and why we all need to take steps to address the issue in our lives and organizations. I hope you’ll read the article and consider ways you can boost connection in your workplace.
Check out this FindingBrave podcast interview I did with Kathy Caprino. We discuss how high stress and low human connection is harming individual (and organizational) health and reducing life expectancy.
Years ago, I worked on a very difficult project. For one year, I put in long hours at the office and even when I was home my mind was on the challenges to be overcome. It crowded out time for family and friends. My performance failed to reflect the effort being put in. After a year, I lost hope the project would be embraced by enough key stakeholders that it could meet its objectives, and eventually I left the firm because my health was suffering.
Check out my new article in Government Executive on the perils of isolation and stress. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the devastating effects of stress and isolation that I write about in the article, including that it’s harming their health and performance. The article is titled “You’re More Vulnerable to Isolation and Stress Than You Think.” If you know someone who may be struggling with this, please forward the article to them.