Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

Social isolation kills. Loneliness and social isolation raise the likelihood of coronary heart disease and stroke, result in poor cardiovascular and mental health outcomes, and drastically increase the likelihood of death. Resulting health implications that stem from real or perceived physical or emotional remoteness include a spectrum of harsh realities ranging from feelings of low self-worth to reduced work capacity to attempts to harm oneself. Social isolation does not have to become the defining reality of modern life. Attention to the vast loneliness spreading through diverse populations across the state is desperately needed as a means to combat this modern assault on the mental and physical health and well-being of Minnesota residents. Recent global initiatives show that implementing specific legislation that sheds light on the realities of social isolation can lead to community restructuring practices that can promote inclusion, reduce time spent in hospital or long-term care settings, help fiscal organizations save or redistribute critical funding from an economic perspective, and save lives. With care and compassion directed to Minnesota’s urban and rural populations across all 87 counties, the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) is staffed with qualified professional service providers actively making a difference in the lives of Minnesota citizens through advocating for their physical and mental health and well-being.


Social Work



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