Beth Dolinar, award winning producer with WQED and WTAE who also writes for the Washington Observer each week speaks with Jim Cunningham about her latest WQED documentary Alone: Isolation Hurts. Social isolation has long been known to affect mental health, but new information shows it can increase the risk of poor physical health and early death. With direct connections to depression, suicide, dementia, stroke, coronary disease and poor sleep, isolation is having an ominous and widespread effect. As many as 40 percent of American adults report feeling cut off from meaningful family and community connection. The COVID pandemic only made things worse with an alarming spike in teenage mental health issues.
Alone: Isolation Hurts introduces a diverse group of people who speak candidly about how isolation exacerbated their experiences with alcoholism, suicide attempts, and emotional trauma, as well as the stigma associated with admitting to being lonely. The program also features ways in which those at risk for isolation’s worst consequences are reaching out to make positive, new social connections.