'Connect' initiative aims to limit social isolation

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Mental Health Minnesota has formed "Connect," an initiative aimed at fighting the social isolation many people in Minnesota are feeling as a result of social distancing in response to COVID-19.

Connect provides social connections by phone between volunteers and people who may be struggling with social isolation, loneliness, stress, anxiety or worry, according to a Mental Health Minnesota news release. Volunteers will also be able to provide people with information and resources to help address any mental health concerns as needed.

Long-term social isolation and loneliness can be detrimental to both mental health and physical health, according to a number of studies. One study noted that the impact of long-term loneliness on physical health was equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

Anyone in Minnesota can sign up to receive phone calls from Mental Health Minnesota volunteers at . Those interested in serving as volunteers can also sign up on the website.

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