You'd think with the multiple levels and layers of social media that exist today and our ability as humans to interact with it, we wouldn't consider ourselves lonely. Well, that is not the case.

The health insurance company Cigna has discovered that more than three in five Americans are lonely. They surveyed over 10,000 adult workers this past summer in July and August 2019 and found there was a nearly 13 percent rise in loneliness since 2018 when the survey was first conducted.

Cigna used the psychology standard called the "UCLA Loneliness Scale" which gives a number value to answers to questions like "How often do you feel alone?"

Cigna found 63 percent of men and 58 percent of women considered themselves lonely, and younger people were more commonly lonely than their older counterparts.

What's more, there's proof that Facebook "friends" don't always translate into real friends: 73 percent of active social media users were considered lonely, compared with 52 percent of casual users.

And because teen bullying, depression and suicide is at an all-time high, as a mom of teens I am really glad that they also shared the warning signs of so-called chronic loneliness:

– Inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level.
– Many acquaintances but no "best" or "close" friend.
– Feelings that no one "gets" you.
– Overwhelming feelings of isolation even if you're at a party surrounded by dozens of people.
– Negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth.
– Feeling exhausted when trying to engage in social activities.

Cigna also warned about loneliness at work and those lonely workers "say they are less engaged, less productive, and report lower retention rates.'' And what's worse for companies, lonely workers think about quitting their jobs at a rate twice that of non-lonely workers.

So if you have a co-worker who you think might be dealing with loneliness and/or depression, reach out to them. It could make a world of difference.

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