Governor Kathy Hochul announced Friday that Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a prominent media figure and sex therapist, has been named New York State’s Honorary Ambassador Against Loneliness. The development is aimed at supporting underserved mental health needs, according to a press release. Dr. Westheimer aims to help New Yorkers experiencing social isolation related to physical and mental health issues such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and premature death.
“As New York State battles the loneliness epidemic, help from Ambassador Emeritus Ruth Westheimer may be just what the doctor ordered,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. statement. “Research shows that people who experience loneliness have a 32 percent higher risk of dying prematurely, and leaders like Dr. Ruth need to work together to address this critical component of the mental health crisis. We need it,” she added.
According to press notes, Dr. Westheimer is an orphaned Holocaust survivor. She became famous during the 1980s and 1990s as a sex girlfriend therapist and host of the Talk Her show on both radio and television. The idea that the 95-year-old would become an “ambassador” for the state to offer advice to his fellow New Yorkers on how to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was last year that I proposed this.
“Hallelujah!” Dr. Westheimer said in a news release. He added: “I am deeply honored and have promised the governor that I will work day and night to make New Yorkers feel less alone.”
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According to a press release, loneliness is defined as feeling alone regardless of the amount of social contact, and social isolation refers to a lack of social connections. More than a third of adults over the age of 45 experience loneliness, and nearly a quarter of adults over the age of 65 are considered socially isolated, according to the National Institute for Science and Engineering.・This was revealed in a study by the Academy of Medicine.
To that end, New York City, under Hochul’s leadership, is working to “build age-friendly communities and build a stronger mental health care system,” according to a news release. Last year, Governor Hochul also signed an executive order creating the state’s first Master Plan on Aging to help older New Yorkers live healthy, fulfilling lives with dignity and independence.
Notably, Dr. Westheimer’s honorary appointment underscores Ms. Hochul’s recent emphasis on aging and social needs.