Loneliness is the subjective feeling people experience when they feel less socially connected to others than they desire. Beyond the impact to mental health and well-being, loneliness is linked to detrimental health outcomes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and isolation requirements likely exacerbated the prevalence of loneliness, which was reported by 1 in 5 American adults before the pandemic. Whether it be through in-person or virtual visits, primary care clinicians have tools and expertise to screen patients for loneliness, provide them supportive consultations, and refer persons with loneliness to helpful resources. As the societal changes from the pandemic continue to evolve, we recommend that primary care providers include loneliness screens as part of their standard workflow and consult with patients about effective interventions to reduce loneliness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From University of Minnesota, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (ML-C, SAH, RL, JR); HealthPartners Institute, Research Division, Minneapolis, MN, 55440 (SAH) Funding: Financial support from the Minnesota Department of Human Services State Opioid Response grant has been awarded to RL. Sponsors did not serve a role in the manuscript preparation. Conflict of interest: None.
© 2022 American Board of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.
- Family Medicine
- Mental Health
- Outcome Assessment
- Primary Health Care
- Social Isolation
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't