PITTSBURGH – WQED Multimedia is proud to premiere a new documentary, Alone: Isolation Hurts, on WQED-TV and online Thursday, February 16 at 8:00 pm, with encore TV broadcasts Monday, February 20 at 7:30 pm, and Tuesday, February 21 at 12:00 am. Produced by Beth Dolinar, this 30-minute documentary explores the intersections of mental health and social isolation.
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.
“While speaking with the people we feature in this documentary, I was surprised to learn that there’s a great deal of stigma around isolation,” says Dolinar. “To admit we are lonely is to suggest that we have no friends or are not lovable. I’m hoping that by telling these stories, we will lift some of that stigma and remind ourselves that loneliness is something we all experience, and that there’s no shame in talking about it and reaching out for help.”
Alone: Isolation Hurts is made possible with the generous support of the Staunton Farm Foundation.
“Staunton Farm Foundation is delighted to partner with WQED to bring our region a film about Isolation. The pandemic brought to light the struggles many experience. The documentary offers stories and resources for anyone in an easy-to-access format,” says Joni Schwager, executive director of the Staunton Farm Foundation. “The good news is that there is help available. 988, the new behavioral health crisis response is available nationally 24/7. We hope it will help those who struggle with the pain of isolation.”
WQED Education will be offering professional development and distributing toolkits to Pennsylvania educators, using clips and experiences from the documentary Alone: Isolation Hurts.
Alone: Isolation Hurts will also be made available for select community screenings. Dates and locations have not yet been confirmed.
Alone: Isolation Hurts will be available online to coincide with its broadcast premiere. The documentary will become part of WQED’s Mental Health Matters initiative at www.wqed.org/mentalhealth where viewers will find a collection of related documentaries.
Other video resources on the site include: The Long Shadow of Childhood Trauma, Before Stage Four: Confronting Early Psychosis, Long Road Home, and Losing Lambert: A Journey Through Survival and Hope.
WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online; streaming and apps, and WQED Interactive.
WQED is a premier leader in broadcast and digital video production, producing socially relevant, historical, arts, entertainment and educational programming resources. WQED’s Learning Neighborhood model creates an education continuum dedicated to serving our youngest neighbors through Ready To Learn programming, while engaging high school students learning filmmaking and exploring employment opportunities through the WQED Film Academy.
About the Staunton Farm Foundation
The Staunton Farm Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of people who live with mental illness and substance use disorders. The Foundation works to enhance behavioral health treatment, support, and recovery through grant making to nonprofit organizations in 10 southwestern Pennsylvania counties (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland).