By: Thomas G. Bognanno, President and CEO for CHC;

The Hidden Risk of Social Isolation During COVID-19

– Many of us now are now sharing a common and almost surrealistic experience with family, friends, neighbors and, in this almost unprecedented instance, with millions across the globe: the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives and immersing an entire world in a sea of uncertainty, fear and anxiety that is fully palpable and yet still difficult to measure.

Daily, every conceivable source from email to news to social media reminds us that the CDC recommends “social distancing” to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus – to “flatten the curve.” Most are complying, but there is a hidden risk that can transform social distancing into social isolation if we are not careful.

Many people understand that social distancing is the best avenue open to us right now to avoid negatively impacting the health of individuals who are most at risk – including the elderly and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, and other disorders that impair the immune system. There is another risk factor associated with this pandemic that is not as apparent but one that could impact every one of us over time – mental health conditions.

An article in Harvard Business Review by Scott Berinato pointed out the importance of acknowledging and managing our feelings as we try to cope with this global catastrophe. Why? The impact of loneliness and isolation on health and wellbeing is significant – just as deadly as any disease or disorder.

Read the full story on Thrive Global.

Thomas G. Bognanno, President and CEO for CHC

Thomas G. Bognanno has been the President and CEO of Community Health Charities since January 2006. Prior to that, Tom had a distinguished 20-year career with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), where he served as the Chief Field Officer. He was instrumental in revitalizing ADA’s community-level infrastructure and acting as one of the chief architects of the Everyday Choices for a Healthier Life partnership between ADA, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society. Before ADA, Tom spent six years with the American Cancer Society.

At Community Health Charities, Tom has been a catalyst for consolidating the organization and creating a new direction for its more than 2,000 charity partners nationwide and its network of over 17 million caring employees. Under Tom’s leadership, Community Health Charities evolved its mission to empower people to take action to improve health and wellbeing to build stronger, healthier communities. Community Health Charities supports education, treatment, and prevention for those with health challenges; brings organizations together to improve community health; provides individuals with opportunities to get involved; and increases the capacity of nonprofit organizations.

Residing in northern Virginia, Tom and his wife Suzan have been married for over 35 years and have raised three children.