The Epidemic We Aren’t Talking About

And how “third places” might help address it.

Molly Miller
The Point of View

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Photo by Hillary Ungson on Unsplash

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear or read the word “epidemic”?

If you live in America, my guess is that you thought of one of these options first:

  • Obesity
  • Opioid addiction
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS

While these are all serious epidemics, there’s another one that is just as serious and far less talked about: loneliness.

At this point, you are probably thinking, well, obviously. We’ve been in the midst of an extremely isolating pandemic for more than three years now.

I’ll admit that this was my first thought when I heard about the loneliness epidemic, too. Then I found out that the rate of loneliness has been increasing since the 1970s and that a 2019 study conducted by Cigna found that 61% of Americans were lonely, an increase of 7% since their 2018 study.

If you’re reading this, you know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on social connection due to the closure of gathering places, quarantines, and the rapid shift to working remotely. A 2022 study published in American Psychologist confirms that, on

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Molly Miller
The Point of View

Public health practitioner| Former educator| Multi-passionate| Open to freelance writing opportunities - mollymillerfreelance@gmail.com