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The lifesaving power of friendship among men

Author Tom Greene recently wrote about a hidden issue in society, encouraging men to make and maintain friendships.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that social isolation and loneliness have become widespread problems in the United States, posing a serious threat to our mental and physical health.

The CDC reports that loneliness costs the US economy an estimated $406 billion a year, in addition to the estimated $6.7 billion a year in Medicare costs for socially isolated older adults.

“According to a 2021 survey, only 50% of men reported being satisfied with their friendships,” Greene wrote. “Additionally, only 20% received emotional support from a friend in the last week, compared to 40% of women.”

“Vivek Murthy knows this fact,” Greene continued. “As the 19th surgeon general of the United States, has repeatedly stated in recent years that the most prevalent health issue in the country is not cancer, heart disease, or obesity, but rather isolation. This isolation is most prominent among men.”

“Despite our best efforts at creating the perfect life on our own, happiness is really about close and meaningful connections with other people,” Greene added. “It’s about lasting and intentional friendships. It’s about the intertwining of our lives in a deep and significant way. We must have people of substance to “do life” with, and we cannot ‘do life’ with people on Facebook and Instagram.”

According to CDC data, social isolation increases your risk of dementia by 50%, heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%. Nearly 1 in 4 adults aged 65 and older are socially isolated and many of them have been that way for decades.

Greene wrote, “Regardless of how much you love your family and the children you happen to have, you will always need friends.”

While women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression, depressed men are much less likely to go to a psychiatrist — they are a lot more likely to commit suicide rather than dealing with their problems.

“In fact, the suicide rate is highest in middle-aged white men,” Greene wrote. “In 2021, men died by suicide 3.9 times more often than women.”

Make new friends and be sure to reach out to old friends. It helps improve your health, your quality of life, and helps you to help your community.

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