Guideposts

A Simple Message

HOW TO HELP THE LONELY? HOW to help yourself when you are one of the lonely? I’m a clinical psychologist, and my passion is helping people who feel so disconnected they contemplate and sometimes attempt suicide. The bad news: There is a loneliness epidemic in America. The good news: We can do something about it. And it won’t take an army of specialists and billions of dollars. It’s as simple as reaching out, using the genuine compassion and empathy we all have. All it takes is a caring message.

Before I say more about caring messages, let’s look at loneliness and the steps you can take to address it. Let me turn to my own experience.

Acknowledge what you’re going through.

We moved around constantly when I was growing up, from the Pacific Northwest to Minnesota to stints in Alaska, where my dad worked as a laborer on the oil pipeline. I changed schools nine times before ninth grade. I felt uprooted. When I got my most upset, I would find myself repeating,

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