National Cheer up the Lonely Day is held across the United States annually on July 11.

Although there is no official record of when the national day was first recognized, research shows that Francis Pesek of Detroit, Michigan, celebrated his birthday by creating Cheer Up the Lonely Day.

His daughter, L.J. Pesek, said Francis Pesek “was a quiet, kind, wonderful man who had a heart of gold. The idea came to him as a way of promoting kindness toward others who were lonely or forgotten as shut-ins or in nursing homes,” per the National Day Calendar.

In the Healthy Minds Monthly Poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in January 2024, it was reported that one out of every three Americans expressed feeling lonely on a weekly basis. The research also indicated that younger individuals were more prone to these feelings, with 30% of people aged 18-34 acknowledging experiencing loneliness regularly, whether daily or several times a week. The survey also revealed that single adults are almost twice as likely as married adults to report feeling lonely every week.

In the survey, 50% of the participants noted that they use distractions, such as television, podcasts, or social media, to combat loneliness. However, such technological escapes can have adverse effects.

“In this tech-heavy world, we should not forget the value of in-person interaction,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., adding, “distracting yourself when you’re feeling lonely with social media might be a double-edged sword: while it can connect, it can also lead to feelings of missing out, and we need to make sure we remain conscious of its effects on our mood.”

A peer-reviewed study, “The Internet and Loneliness,” published in the AMA Journal of Ethics in November 2023, stated, “How we use the internet may contribute to feelings of isolation, and perceived social isolation is positively related to problematic social media use.”

With budgets being adjusted due to inflation, affecting everything from necessities to entertainment, it stands to reason that people are turning to other forms of connection beyond eating out and painting the town red.

As the cost of living rises, many Americans work longer hours to sustain themselves, according to The Corsair. Consequently, there is limited time for socializing, particularly as the expense of activities dissuades people from going out. Today, the concept of “community” is shifting to the digital realm, with individuals resorting to high levels of consumption to attain a sense of belonging.

Yet, this “sense of belonging” can be misleading as social media influencers attempt to promote the world and its inhabitants as if they were commodities.

“We align with the feeling of isolation because, think about it, the way we’re moving through people, we’re moving, we’re moving through them like they’re products, right?” said sociologist Professor Amy Andrada from Santa Monica College, per The Corsair.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes loneliness as “feeling alone or disconnected from others. It is feeling like you do not have meaningful or close relationships or a sense of belonging. It reflects the difference between a person’s actual and desired level of connection.”

According to the CDC, there are health impacts of loneliness, such as heart disease, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

A clinically reviewed article by Calm lists nine signs of loneliness:

  1. You feel sad, empty, or alone even when you’re around other people.
  2. You have difficulty connecting with others on a deep level.
  3. You don’t have many close friends or family members.
  4. You avoid social activities or withdraw from others.
  5. You have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
  6. You feel stressed or anxious.
  7. You have lost interest in activities that you used to enjoy.
  8. You feel tired all the time.
  9. You have headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems.

So, what can be done to combat loneliness?

Cigna Healthcare offers five ways to help manage loneliness: acknowledging your feelings of solitude (e.g., confiding in a therapist, confiding in friends and family), determining when to engage or disconnect from the digital realm, exploring opportunities to volunteer, getting involved in a community or association, and making self-care a priority (e.g., physical activity, exposure to sunlight, nutritious diet, sleep quality). offers a free online self-care checkup, a three-step mindfulness worksheet, and the National Institutes of Health’s emotional wellness worksheets to help assess your feelings and decrease loneliness.

If you or someone you know is feeling at risk of suicide, it’s important to reach out for help. You can contact the 988 Lifeline by calling or texting 9-8-8. This service provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for individuals who are in distress.

Everyone is susceptible to loneliness. Reach out, listen, and encourage others, not just on National Cheer up the Lonely Day, but every day. You never know how a simple ‘Just checking on you’ or ‘How was your day?’ can impact another’s life.