“The consequences of loneliness are enormous,” says NEJM Catalyst Leadership Board Founder Tom Lee. What should clinicians do for patients for whom social isolation and loneliness is the biggest social need?

When people feel down and don’t have anything to do — especially as they age and have to give up certain activities — clinicians might not know how to help them, says Consuelo Wilkins, a geriatrician and Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance. But most communities have organizations that provide social activities, ways to meet and connect with new people and to learn. “This is a clear first thing to do in my mind, is not to prescribe something but to find some resources in the community for people to get connected,” says Wilkins. “They are plenty of those out there.” …..more