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Dr. Robin Smith - The Pandemic and Resources for Social Isolation

Updated: May 7, 2021

Dr. Robin Smith joined host Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino for insights into several mental health aspects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

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Dr. Robin presents helpful resources from AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation such as All are available for free to managers and employees, including the Social Isolation Risk Assessment – a questionnaire to help individuals determine how connected they are, and which resources would benefit them most.

  • Social isolation is more than a feeling of loneliness; it’s infrequent or no social contact with others – and during the pandemic it’s reaching epidemic proportions; it’s a public health crisis.

  • Together, AARP Foundation and United Health Foundation conducted a study, The Pandemic Effect: A Social Isolation Report, which found that adults – including older adults – are experiencing social isolation. Among the survey findings, more than half of respondents agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused their anxiety level to increase, yet many are not turning to anyone for help. And it’s disproportionately impacting women 50+.

  • Among the 50+, almost a third of women (29%) report going as long as one to three months not interacting with others during the pandemic and are more likely to experience negative emotions than their male cohorts.

  • Women 50+ are more than twice as likely to report feeling overwhelmed (32%) and reported feeling more anxious (46%) and stressed (50%) compared to men 50+ (15%, 36% and 40% respectively).

  • You may be isolated, but you don’t have to be alone. AARP Foundation, with support from United Health Foundation, operates, where you can take the assessment to find out if you or a loved one are at risk and connect to tools to overcome social isolation.

  • It’s important we understand the difference between being anxious and being paralyzed by anxiety. A lot of the emotions that people have now are normal feelings and have become manifested in abnormal ways. The pandemic has created a response that people are not able to feel hopeful, resourceful or manage their connections.

  • COVID-19’s impact on the existing problem of social isolation threatens long-term consequences to the health and well-being of millions of people in the U.S., especially older adults. We know from research that social isolation has been linked to several serious health conditions, such as cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and even death.

  • Studies have found the health risks of social isolation can be more harmful than obesity, and prolonged isolation is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

  • We all have a role to play in addressing this complex public health issue – whether by seeking help ourselves or helping others who are showing signs of social isolation get help.

  • We need to normalize not being okay and identify ways to lessen social isolation through small steps that set people up for success. When effective, these small steps decrease how deep the sadness or isolation feels.

  • Social connection is often the anchor to a productive and successful life. When individuals are isolated, their access to support networks, information, and mutually beneficial community contributions are compromised – making it more difficult to seek critical information, supportive services, access to employment and more.

  • At we assembled resources to help you stay connected during this challenging time. Take the risk assessment, or type in your ZIP code and get connected to help right in your neighborhood or community.

  • The Social isolation Risk Assessment – a questionnaire to help individuals determine how connected they are, and which resources would benefit them most.

  • The local assistance directory offers a personalized list of free or reduced cost community services that may help individuals reduce or combat social isolation, as well as connect them to other vital services to meet their individual needs.

Dr. Robin Smith (Dr. Robin) is a licensed Psychologist and ordained minister with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, who has worked with Fortune 500 companies and sports and entertainment professionals to offer conflict management, diversity and inclusion training, executive performance coaching and more. An experienced media and television personality, she is the author of several books including the New York Times #1 best-selling Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages. Her other titles include Inspirational Vitamins: A Guide to Personal Empowerment and the soulful memoir, Hungry: The Truth About Being Full. She has appeared and shared her expertise on news and entertainment television programs including, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, NBC’s The Today Show, The Fox News Channel, The Queen Latifah Show, Anderson Cooper, and as the Therapist-in-Residence on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

For more information on Dr. Robin Smith visit:


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