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Let’s Plant the Seeds of Change

Our Framework for a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection calls for action essential to our nation's health, safety, and prosperity. Individuals and organizations can use this framework to address the public health problem of social disconnection and strengthen social connection.

This list is not comprehensive, nor does including or linking to any specific resource or example indicate endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of the Surgeon General. Rather, these examples and resources are intended to share tools and information that may be helpful in implementing the recommendations contained in the Advisory.


Recommendations for Individuals

For more information on these recommendations, read page 66 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Understand the power of social connection and the consequences of social disconnection on your relationships, health, and well-being.

  2. Invest time in nurturing your relationships through consistent, frequent, and high-quality engagement with others.

  3. Minimize distraction during conversations to increase the quality of time you spend with others.

  4. Seek out opportunities to serve and support others. Try helping your family, friends, and community members or participating in community service.

  5. Be responsive and supportive and practice gratitude. Reflect the core values of connection in how you approach others through the actions you take and conversations you have.

  6. Actively engage with people of different backgrounds and experiences to expand your understanding of and relationships with others.

  7. Participate in social and community groups such as fitness, religious, hobby, professional, and community service organizations to foster a sense of belonging, meaning, and purpose.

  8. Reduce practices that lead to feelings of disconnection from others.

  9. Seek help during times of struggle with loneliness or isolation by reaching out to a family member, friend, counselor, health care provider, or the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

  10. Be open with your health care provider about significant social changes in your life.

  11. Make time for civic engagement. This could include being a positive and constructive participant in political discourse or gatherings (e.g., town halls, school board meetings, local government hearings).


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    National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    The National Institutes of Health provides 6 strategies for improving your social health. These strategies include related articles and recommended actions.

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    VolunteerMatch provides a directory that allows you to search for local volunteering opportunities that are both in-person or virtual, ongoing or one-off, and span across different interest areas.

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    AARP Foundation

    The AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect platform provides a network of resources that meets the needs of anyone who is isolated or lonely and helps build the social connections older adults need to thrive.

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    Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

    CDC’s “How Right Now” platform provides a directory of resources for people experiencing loneliness.

Parents & Caregivers

Recommendations for Parents & Caregivers

For more information on these recommendations, read page 65 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Invest in your relationship with your child or loved one. Strong, secure attachments are protective and a good foundation for other healthy relationships.

  2. Model healthy social connection for those around you.

  3. Help children and adolescents develop strong, safe, and stable relationships with supportive adults. This could include grandparents, teachers, coaches, counselors, or mentors.

  4. Encourage healthy social connection with peers. Support individual friendships and participation in structured activities.

  5. Be attentive to how young people spend their time online.

  6. Identify and aim to reduce behaviors and experiences that may increase the risk for social disconnection. This can include bullying and excessive or harmful social media use.

  7. Talk to your children about social connection regularly to understand if they are struggling with loneliness or isolation.

    1. Look out for potential warning signs of loneliness such as increases in time spent alone, disproportionate online time, limited interactions with friends, or excessive attention-seeking behaviors.

    2. Connect youth to helpers like counselors, educators, and health care providers if they are struggling with loneliness, isolation, or unhealthy relationships.


Community-Based Organizations

Recommendations for Community-Based Organizations

For more information on these recommendations, read page 62 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Create opportunities and spaces for inclusive social connection. Establish programs that foster positive and safe relationships among people of all backgrounds.

  2. Embed social connection in internal policies, practices, programs, and evaluations.

  3. Actively seek and build partnerships with other community institutions (schools, health organizations, workplaces). This can create a culture of connection in the broader community and support those who may be experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

  4. Advance public education and awareness efforts to introduce and elevate the topic of social connection and disconnection among community members.

  5. Create and provide education, resources, and support programs for community members, particularly key demographics such as parents, youth, and at-risk populations.

  6. Foster a culture of connection in the broader community by highlighting examples of healthy social connection and leading by example.


Schools & Education Departments

Recommendations for Schools & Education Departments

For more information on these recommendations, read page 60 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Develop a strategic plan for school connectedness and social skills. Include evidence-based practices, such as the implementation of peer-led programs and partnerships with key community organizations.

  2. Build social connection into health curricula. Include up-to-date, age-appropriate information on the consequences of social connection on physical and mental health, key risk and protective factors, and strategies for increasing social connection.

  3. Implement socially based educational techniques. For example, cooperative learning projects can improve educational outcomes and peer relations.

  4. Create a supportive school environment that fosters belonging. This can be through equitable classroom management, mentoring, or peer support groups that allow students to lean on one another and learn from each other’s experiences.


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    Trying Together

    This toolkit supports caregivers in bolstering their family engagement practices.

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    Foundation for Social Connection

    This report provides evidence-based interventions, identifies gaps in research, and explores opportunities to advance social connection in the education sector through programs and policies.

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    Marmalade Trust

    The Marmalade Trust provides a lesson plan to teach students about loneliness.

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    Beyond Differences

    Beyond Differences provides a curriculum for teachers to teach empathy and social connection.


Recommendations for Workplaces

For more information on these recommendations, read page 61 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Make social connection a strategic priority in the workplace at all levels (administration, management, and employees).

  2. Train, resource, and empower leaders and managers to implement and continually improve programs and practices that foster connection in the workplace.

  3. Leverage existing leadership and employee training, orientation, and wellness resources to educate the workforce about the importance of social connection.

  4. Create a workplace culture that fosters inclusion and belonging. Allow people to connect to one another as whole people, not just as skill sets.

  5. Put in place policies that protect workers' ability to nurture their relationships outside work, while respecting boundaries between work and non-work time.

  6. Consider the opportunities and challenges various work arrangements (e.g. remote, hybrid, and in-person) pose to workers’ abilities to connect with others within and outside of work. Evaluate how these policies can be applied equitably across the workforce.


Health Workers, Systems, & Insurers

Recommendations for Health Workers, Systems, & Insurers

For more information on these recommendations, read page 56 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Explicitly acknowledge social connection as a priority for health.

  2. Provide health professionals with formal training and continuing education on the medical relevance of social connection and risks associated with social disconnection.

  3. Insurance companies should provide adequate reimbursement for time spent assessing and addressing concerns about social disconnection and incorporate these measurements into value-based payment models.

  4. Facilitate inclusion of assessment results in electronic health records.

  5. Providers and insurers can educate and incentivize patients to understand the risks of and take action to address inadequate social connection.

  6. Integrate social connection into patient care in primary-, secondary-, and tertiary-level care settings.

  7. Create partnerships that provide support for people who are at risk for, or are struggling with, loneliness, isolation, low social support, or poor-quality relationships.

  8. Create opportunities for clinicians to partner with researchers to evaluate the application of evidence-based assessment tools and interventions within clinical settings.


Public Health Professionals

Recommendations for Public Health Professionals

For more information on these recommendations, read page 57 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Establish social connection as a priority health indicator and social determinant of health across the lifespan.

  2. Develop, lead, and support public education programs, awareness campaigns, and health professional training programs focused on the health impacts of social disconnection.

  3. Study and support research on the causes of social disconnection.

  4. Evaluate, develop, and implement sustainable interventions and strategies to promote greater connection and prevent social disconnection.

  5. Consistently and regularly track social connection using validated metrics (such as the Berkman-Syme Social Network Index, UCLA Loneliness scale), and validate new measures to capture the full complexity of social connection to guide strategic decision-making, planning, and evaluation of strategies.


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    Center for Disease Control (CDC)

    The CDC outlines strategies and interventions for Native American and Alaska Native communities to improve connection and build resilience.

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    National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

    This directory lists all 20 state health departments and other organizations working to reduce social isolation and loneliness through policies, systems, and environmental changes.

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    Far from Alone

    Far from Alone collaborates with partners in a campaign that drives awareness, action, and advocacy to increase social connectedness.


Recommendations for Governments

For more information on these recommendations, read page 55 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Designate social connection as a public health priority.

  2. Establish a dedicated leadership position to work across departments, convene stakeholders, and advance pro-connection policies.

  3. Utilize a “Connection-in-All-Policies” approach that examines policies across sectors and looks to identify and remedy policies that drive disconnection while advancing those that drive connection.

  4. Monitor and regulate technology by establishing transparency, accountability, safety, and consumer protections that ensure social health and safety.

  5. Create a standardized national measure or set of measures for social connection and standardized definitions for relevant terms, in collaboration with the research community.

  6. Prioritize research funding at all levels and enhance collaboration with researchers to improve research coordination.

  7. Launch sustained and inclusive public education and awareness efforts for social connection.

  8. Invest in social infrastructure at the local level, including the programs, policies, and physical elements of a community that facilitate bringing people together.

  9. Incentivize the assessment and integration of social connection into health care delivery and public health.

  10. Increase evaluation and oversight of policy and programmatic outcomes from public institutions, programs, and services, and make the results available through public facing reports, databases, and other mechanisms.


Media & Entertainment

Recommendations for Media & Entertainment

For more information on these recommendations, read page 64 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Create content that models and promotes positive social interactions and healthy relationships.

  2. Utilize storylines and narratives in film, television, and entertainment to provide messages that broaden public awareness of the health benefits of social connection and the risks of social disconnection.

  3. Ensure that content related to social connection is scientifically accurate in collaboration with the scientific community.

  4. Avoid content and products that inadvertently increase disconnection or stigma around social disconnection.


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    The Foundation for Art and Healing - Project UnLonely

    A collection of 35 powerful short films that bring diverse perspectives on loneliness as a step towards connection."

Technology Companies

Recommendations for Technology Companies

For more information on these recommendations, read page 63 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Be transparent with data to enable a better understanding of technology’s impact on individual and community connection.

  2. Support the development and enforcement of industry-wide safety standards to ensure safe digital environments that enable positive social connection.

  3. Intentionally design technology that fosters healthy dialogue and relationships, including across diverse communities and perspectives.



Recommendations for Researchers

For more information on these recommendations, read page 58 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Establish social connection as a research priority and support researchers in this field with time, space, and funding.

  2. Develop a cross-disciplinary research agenda including basic, translational, evaluation, and dissemination research.

  3. Develop and establish additional standardized national and local measures that are regularly evaluated.

  4. Improve research coordination, including the development of an accessible evidence database, a way to coordinate the use of evidence among researchers, and a comprehensive way to track connection and community metrics over time.


Philanthropy Groups

Recommendations for Philanthropy Groups

For more information on these recommendations, read page 59 of the Surgeon General’s advisory.

  1. Fund new programs and invest in existing successful programs that advance social connection among individuals and within communities.

  2. Evaluate cross-sector programs for their impact on social connection by adding social connection and relationship-building as indicators of grantee success.

  3. Provide support for adequate evaluation, reporting, and knowledge sharing about the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce loneliness and isolation and improve social connection.

  4. Convene stakeholders working to understand or strengthen social connection.

  5. Invest in efforts to increase public awareness and dissemination of findings.