Press Releases

Connecting to Hope: Addressing the Loneliness Epidemic in the Heart of NYC

connect with hope screenshot

In our increasingly interconnected world, the pervasive issue of loneliness has surfaced as a silent epidemic, affecting millions. Recent studies underscore the severity of this crisis, revealing that 58 percent of Americans consistently experience feelings of loneliness, emphasizing the need for collective action. This alarming trend demands attention, particularly during the holiday season when feelings of isolation can intensify.

Launched in New York City, "Connecting to Hope" is a three-month awareness campaign designed to encourage individuals to foster connections with their community, family, friends, and neighbors, as well as to cultivate spiritual connections with God. The campaign's resources serve as a lifeline to combat loneliness, encouraging people to seek support, and proactively connect with those around them.

This collaboration between the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD) and Hope Channel International features a series of impactful 15-second ads displayed on a digital billboard in New York City's Times Square. These ads direct viewers to, where they can find dedicated contact information to connect with a trained representative available for support via text, chat, email, or phone. Additionally, the website provides a list of links to local (NYC) businesses and nonprofits for community engagement opportunities.

"God sometimes does special things in reaching those for whom Christ died. This is one of those times the Lord provided a unique opportunity for us to connect with those we rarely reach," shares G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president. "We are excited about this collaboration with Hope Channel. This is a tremendous opportunity. Our communication team and so many others seized this moment in a miraculous way to share a word of hope to those who are desperately looking for it."

"Connecting to Hope" urges people to take proactive steps to combat loneliness, not only during the holidays but throughout the year. Here are five practical suggestions to foster connection and alleviate the impact of social isolation:

  1. Reach Out: Actively engage with friends, family, and colleagues. A simple call, text message, or even an invitation to share a meal can go a long way in creating meaningful connections.
  2. Volunteer: Participate in community service or volunteer opportunities. Consider lending a hand at your local Adventist Community Services center, at a senior living facility, or other local charity organizations. Helping others contributes to a sense of purpose and also provides an avenue for social interaction. 
  3. Join Clubs or Groups: Pursue hobbies and interests by joining local clubs or groups. Whether it's a church group, book club, sports league, or art class, shared activities can lead to new friendships.
  4. Embrace Technology: Leverage technology to stay connected with loved ones, especially if geographical distances pose a challenge. Virtual gatherings, video calls, and social media platforms can help bridge the gap.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If feelings of loneliness persist, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance. Therapists, counselors, and support groups can offer valuable guidance and support.

During this holiday season, it is essential to recognize the significance of social and spiritual connections in mitigating the loneliness epidemic. By taking proactive steps to foster meaningful relationships, individuals can contribute to a healthier, more connected society.

Why Address Loneliness? 

In an era marked by unprecedented connectivity, loneliness has paradoxically emerged as a silent epidemic, gripping people across generations with an insidious hold. Recent reports and studies underscore the gravity of this issue.

A 2023 survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health highlights the pervasive nature of loneliness, reporting that a staggering one in three individuals across different age groups experiences chronic feelings of isolation. This phenomenon is not limited to a specific generation; rather, it casts a wide net, affecting the young, middle-aged, and elderly alike.

Among younger generations, the rise of social media is often cited as a double-edged sword. While platforms promise connection, they can inadvertently contribute to feelings of inadequacy and exclusion. The constant comparison to curated online lives exacerbates the loneliness epidemic among millennials and Gen Z, who find themselves ensnared in the pursuit of virtual validation.

For the elderly, factors such as retirement, loss of loved ones, and physical health challenges can lead to profound isolation. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that social isolation among seniors has been proven to have long-term detrimental effects on health and longevity.

Contributors to this epidemic are diverse, ranging from societal shifts and technological advancements to urbanization and the breakdown of traditional communities. Tackling this issue requires a multi-faceted approach encompassing mental health awareness, community building, and policies that prioritize social well-being.

A collective effort addressing this epidemic is imperative. By fostering genuine connections, embracing technology responsibly, and creating supportive communities, we can unravel the threads of loneliness that bind our society and forge a path toward a more connected and compassionate future.

Screenshot of family at the holidays taking a family selfie picture

Spiritual Perspective

As Christians, faith serves as a beacon of hope. Emphasizing the importance of compassion, community, and selfless love, Christians are called to address the multifaceted contributors to loneliness. By weaving threads of faith into the fabric of society, we can provide a lifeline to those ensnared by isolation and pave a path toward a more connected, spiritually nourished, and resilient community. For believers, the call to action is not merely societal but a divine imperative, a journey towards healing the brokenhearted and restoring the bonds that unite us in Christ.

"Pray that this effort will reach many for our Lord and Savior," adds Bryant.