VIDEO and STAFF REPORT. From San Mateo County Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, January 30th, 2024 at 9:00am, as a hybrid meeting.
Starts at 2:17:28
Item #8: Adopt a resolution declaring loneliness a public health crisis in the County of San Mateo.
To: Honorable Board of Supervisors
From: Supervisor David J. Canepa, District 5
Subject: Resolution Declaring Loneliness a Public Health Crisis
Adopt a resolution declaring loneliness a public health crisis in the County of San Mateo.
Loneliness has been identified as a significant public health crisis by the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. The Surgeon General Advisory underscores the adverse effects of loneliness on mental, physical, and societal health. San Mateo County has witnessed a rise in residents experiencing isolation, with 45% expressing difficulty in 2022.
This resolution acknowledges the multifaceted nature of loneliness, considering intersectionality, race, and ethnicity. It recognizes the diverse composition of the community, with 35.2% of residents born outside the country, emphasizing the vulnerability of older immigrants to loneliness.
Furthermore, the resolution aligns with the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, providing a comprehensive framework for a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection. It emphasizes six foundational pillars, including strengthening social infrastructure, enacting pro-connection public policies, mobilizing the health sector, reforming digital environments, deepening knowledge, and cultivating a culture of connection.
By adopting this resolution, the Board of Supervisors acknowledges the importance of addressing loneliness as a critical public health concern.
It commits to implementing evidence-based strategies outlined in the Surgeon General’s Advisory, focusing on the six foundational pillars.
This includes initiatives to:
- strengthen social infrastructure
- enact pro-connection public policies
- mobilize the health sector
- reform digital environments
- deepen knowledge through research
- cultivate a culture of connection
Recognizing the impact of loneliness on various demographic groups, the resolution underscores the need for targeted interventions, such as the Addressing Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults (SILO) Act. The Board pledges to work collaboratively with stakeholders, community organizations, and residents to implement these strategies and create a more resilient and connected community.
January 30, 2024
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa calls on state of California to create Minister of Loneliness position
REDWOOD CITY – San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Vice President David J. Canepa made the following statement today before the vote on the resolution declaring loneliness a public health crisis- the first of its kind in the nation.
Canepa is also advocating for the state of California to create a Minister of Loneliness position such as the United Kingdom and Japan have established.
“Many people are suffering alone in silence and there’s no cure for it,” Canepa said. “Loneliness, isolation and lack of connection can lead to profound health impacts that send many of our most vulnerable residents on the path to homelessness, as we’ve seen in the county’s one-day homeless count conducted last week. While there is no cure, there are ways we all can make a difference by extending love, support and real help to our neighbors, older adults and families before loneliness does become a crisis and leads to horrible outcomes such as suicide. They say loneliness can have the same health consequences as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, an alarming fact that I think should be addressed by the state by establishing a Minister of Loneliness similar to what the UK and Japan have instituted.”
The recent Surgeon General Advisory issued by Dr. Vivek Murthy underscores the severity of this issue, highlighting its profound impact on mental, physical, and societal health. In San Mateo County alone, 45% of residents reported experiencing difficulty with isolation and loneliness, with certain demographic groups facing heightened challenges in accessing social support networks.