Surgeon General launches nationwide “We Are Made to Connect” college tour

Washington, DC: Recognizing the significant challenges that loneliness, social isolation, and mental health pose to college-aged Americans, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is launching the national “We Are Made to Connect” Tour. The Surgeon General will travel to colleges across the country beginning today and throughout the month of November to inspire people to incorporate moments of connection into their daily lives to help improve their health and well-being.

The stops will be interactive experiences where Dr. Murthy will issue a 5-for-5 Connection Challenge to students, challenging them to take 5 actions for 5 days that express gratitude, offer support, or ask for help from people in their lives. These types of actions are outlined in the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness as ways that people can catalyze social connection. As outlined in the Advisory, social connection can advance physical, mental and cognitive health, and it is even associated with a decreased risk of mortality.

“I am thrilled to embark on the We Are Made to Connect Tour and speak to young people about healthy relationships and their impact on mental health. Loneliness is a widespread national health problem – one that impacts young Americans at surprisingly high rates,” said U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. “Just like exercise and nutrition, our relationships with one another are fundamental components of our overall health and well-being. The tour and connection challenge will help students learn how to better incorporate moments of connection into their daily lives.”

The Surgeon General will kick off the “We Are Made to Connect” Tour at Duke University today, where he will be in conversation with Duke men’s basketball coach Jon Scheyer and associate professor of American religious history Kate Bowler. Tomorrow, he will be at the University of Virginia for the second stop. He will be in conversation with psychology professor Joseph Allen, and university students.

Current tour stops are included below:

  • October 25: Duke University (Durham, NC) 
  • October 26: University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
  • November 3: University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • November 8: University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)
  • TBC: Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
  • November 27: NYC students (Brooklyn, NY)
  • November 28: Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • TBC: Hampton University (Hampton, VA)

The “We Are Made to Connect” Tour will feature M.T.V. and Active Minds’ Acknowledge, Support, and Keep-InTouch (A.S.K.) multi-media campaign. A.S.K. provides a framework for peer support and promotes conversation by encouraging people to ask questions to better support their friends and loved ones. As part of this, tour stops will include interactive connection opportunities around Dr. Murthy’s conversations.

Earlier this year, Dr. Murthy released the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, which warned about the profound mental and physical health risks that social disconnection poses, and the growing loneliness problem among college-aged students. Recent studies show that rates of loneliness among young adults have increased every year between 1976 and 2019, and in 2021, young adults were almost twice as likely to report feeling lonely as those over the age of 65. Throughout his tenure serving as Surgeon General, Dr. Murthy has consistently worked to address the youth mental health crisis in the country, releasing an Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health in December 2021 and an Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health this May.

Image courtesy of medicaldialogues.in

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