On Dec. 4, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., announced the launch of his “5-for-5 Connection Challenge,” promoting social connection in a medical context. Indeed, social connection is one of six top priorities in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General. Murthy is trying to highlight the importance of social connection as a core public health issue, in a time of social fragmentation and disconnection.
On Dec. 4, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., announced the launch of what he is calling a “5-for-5 Connection Challenge,” continuing forward in his quest to improve the lives of Americans through social connection. Dr. Murthy has long championed social connection as a medical issue, and indeed, as outlined in the online document “Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General,” “Social Connection” is the first of six top priorities outlined in that framework. The other five areas are “Youth Mental Health,” “Workplace Well-Being,” “Health Misinformation,” “Health Worker Burnout,” and “COVID-19.”
Per those priorities, the Department of Health and Human Services posted a press release to its website on Monday focusing on Surgeon General Murthy’s outreach. It began thus: “Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is launching the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge, calling on Americans to take five actions over five days to build more connection in their lives. Dr. Murthy recently issued this challenge to students across the country on his “We Are Made to Connect” College Tour, which concluded just last week. Now, as we enter the holiday season, the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge aims to inspire people of all ages to build, strengthen, and prioritize their relationships.”
The press release went on to state that, “For the next two weeks, from December 4th – December 15th, the Surgeon General will encourage people to take five actions over five days that express gratitude, offer support to, 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 some of the 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.”
“Our relationships are foundational to our health and well-being, but nearly one in two adults experience measurable levels of loneliness. People across the country often tell me that they want to find tangible ways to better connect with the people in their lives, which is why I am issuing a national 5-for-5 Connection Challenge,” Murthy said in a statement contained in the press release. “The three types of actions for the challenge – expressing gratitude, offering support, and asking for help – can help deepen the relationships we have with others and strengthen our bonds. This holiday season, as we reflect on the year, I encourage everyone to participate!”
The press release went on to note that, “During his recent ‘We Are Made to Connect’ College Tour, Dr. Murthy issued the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge to college students across the country. Young people face surprisingly high rates of loneliness. 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. During his college tour, Dr. Murthy spoke with notable partners about the importance of incorporating moments of connection into their daily lives to help improve health and well-being.”