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Loneliness and Our Youth

Last month this blog explored the loneliness epidemic in our country.  The health impacts are concerning for adults.  Young people are feeling the effects as well, and in different ways.

I was shocked to learn in researching this topic just how many young people identified themselves as lonely.  In a recent article in Scientific American, a 2020 study showed that one in five Millennials have no friends at all and that 71percent of Millennials and almost 79 percent of Gen Z respondents report feeling lonely.  And that is before the pandemic created even more social and physical isolation.

So, what is at work here that so many young people are lonely??

A major factor cited in the study on youth loneliness is electronics.   Although society is more connected than ever before by social media and mobile devices, today’s young people lack the intimacy of face-to-face human interaction—what they call IRL (in real life). As a result, there is a heightened level of isolation and young adults are looking for an understanding of how to overcome loneliness and depression.

Ironically, research on the behavior of these plugged-in generations reveals that technology is a big part of the problem. Indeed, many researchers and mental health professionals believe that the ubiquitous nature of social media and the constant availability of online communication lie at the root of the issue. It seems that virtual connections are preventing more authentic IRL connections.

How can we help?

According to the same Scientific American article mentioned earlier, there are ways they can cope.  We can help our youth to work on cultivating and maintaining relationships.  Here are some tips for them (and those of us older folks who are lonely as well):

Keep an open mind. It’s easy to automatically rule out someone as a friend because of an age gap, divergent political perspective or different taste in books, movies or music. Stop. Give everyone a chance. Even one common interest can serve as an avenue into another person’s inner world and establish the foundation for a closer connection.


Be the friend you’d like to have. Say yes to invitations, be reliable, respond to texts, e-mails and voicemail messages in a timely way. Provide support and give your friends your full attention. Celebrate their accomplishments. Remember their birthdays and other important events. Listen to their troubles and provide a shoulder to cry on, when needed.


Make yourself vulnerable and be the first to show trust. Share something personal about yourself and be courageous enough to extend the first invitation to an event or social outing.


Be compassionate with yourself. Expect to make a few mistakes when trying to establish new friendships. Try to be as understanding of your own missteps as you are of others’ minor blunders. If appropriate, apologize.

Dear readers, reach out to those young people you know and help them to be socially active.  Reach out to them and be their friend.  If they are grieving, be especially attentive to the signs of loneliness and depression.


Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay.  If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email

Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL.



Be blessed,



“We Grow Stronger Together”


Contact me at:  Ellen Krohne or  Ellen Krohne Author Facebook

Books are available on at the links below:

We Lost Her

Heartbroken – Grief and Hope Inside the Opioid Crisis

The Secret of a Mommy’s Love


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