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MELD on Loneliness

MELD addresses the loneliness problem for men by fostering environments that promote emotional safety, vulnerability, and connection. MELD’s approach centers around creating spaces where men can explore their emotions, develop self-awareness, and establish meaningful relationships — all essential elements in combating loneliness.

MELD Men

Surgeon General’s Report

The Surgeon General’s Advisory [i] indicates that over one-third of adults in the United States report feeling serious loneliness, with men reporting more loneliness than women.[ii] It gets worse as men get older; for example, men between the ages of 60-64 found that 52% of men are lonely.[iii]

Loneliness Health Effects

Loneliness produces substantial health risks comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It underscores the necessity of social connection as a vital component of health and well-being. MELD can leverage this data by facilitating programs that encourage men to engage deeply with their emotions and with each other.

Loneliness and Co-regulation

Dr. Stephen Porges’ work on the polyvagal theory and co-regulation[iv] is fundamental to understanding how these approaches can be effective. Porges’ theory elucidates that safe and supportive social environments can activate the body’s vagus nerve, promoting states of calm and fostering trust and connection. Co-regulation, the process of managing physiological and emotional states through interaction with others, is critical in this context. It helps individuals feel safe and connected, which are antidotes to loneliness. Implementing activities that encourage empathetic listening, mutual support, and non-judgmental communication can facilitate co-regulation, enhancing the feeling of connection among participants.

Combating Loneliness with Men’s Groups

Scientific studies back the efficacy of group interventions in reducing feelings of isolation and improving mental health. For example, a meta-analysis published in “Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice”[v] shows that group therapy significantly decreases loneliness and enhances social support and functioning. MELD’s model can integrate these findings into their practices by offering regular group meetings, trainings, and retreats that prioritize emotional openness and collective experiences.

 

A Scalable and Sustainable Solution

Moreover, the experiential aspect of MELD’s programs, grounded in the MELD methodology, allows men to practice and experience the benefits of co-regulation in real-time.[vi] This experiential learning is key to internalizing the skills necessary for building and maintaining social connections.

By combining these evidence-based strategies, MELD creates a robust framework to effectively tackle the loneliness epidemic among men. Through scientifically supported methods, MELD can facilitate lasting change, helping men build new skills and support networks that foster mental, emotional, and physical well-being, ultimately contributing to healthier and more connected communities.

[i] https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/surgeon-general-social-connection-advisory.pdf

[ii] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886920302555

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131432/, https://www.rootsofloneliness.com/middle-age-loneliness

[iv][iv] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35645742/

[v] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1998-11673-002

[vi] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2024-50444-001

MELD addresses loneliness by recognizing the critical difference between independence and isolation.

Download the PDF to discover how MELD helps men.