First-ever ‘loneliness ambassador’ appointed in New York
At some point in our lives, we often search for that happy pill to bring us some spark. In New York, feeling lonely could be a thing of the past with the appointment of Dr. Ruth Westheimer as the loneliness ambassador.
From bringing sex conversations out of the closet to banishing feelings of sadness and isolation, psychosexual therapist and talk show host Dr. Westheimer is now on her new mission—combat loneliness.
Prescribing a healthy dose of connection, the 95-year-old media sensation was appointed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul as the state’s honorary loneliness ambassador on Nov. 9.
What prompted this move is the 2020 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine unveiling that over one-third of adults in New York, 45 years or older, are struggling with loneliness, while almost a quarter of 65 years old and up are socially isolated.
A big day for me. Gov. Hochul of New York appointed me Ambassador to Loneliness and the NY Times did a story on the appointment and on me which you can read here: https://t.co/ggmOwMWxei
— Dr. Ruth Westheimer (@AskDrRuth) November 9, 2023
Despite New York’s undeniable wins on various fronts—case in point, flying taxis potentially soaring in its skies—Gov. Hochul acknowledges yet another serious situation. “As New York state works to combat its loneliness epidemic, some help from honorary Ambassador Ruth Westheimer may be just what the doctor ordered,” Gov. Hochul said in a press statement.
Who is Dr. Ruth Westheimer?
Aside from being a trusted sex and relationship guru in the US, “The Dr. Ruth Show” host has also written over 37 books. Her wisdom is one without her own hardships considering she’s a Holocaust survivor.
She rose to fame both on TV and the radio in the ’80s and ’90s with her talk show “The Dr. Ruth Show” garnering two million viewers per week back in 1985. Her radio call-in show “Sexually Speaking” in 1983 was also a top hit at that time.
With her appointment, she affirms her dedication to working day and night to help New Yorkers feel less isolated and lonely. In her own words, “I am deeply honored.”
The loneliness ambassador’s battle plan
Dr. Westheimer, an advocate for open communication herself, urges New Yorkers to admit if they’re sad or lonely as the first step to healing. “Once people do that, they can begin to talk about the remedies that can help alleviate their loneliness,” she says.
Meanwhile, New York’s director of the Office for the Aging, Greg Olsen, expressed his excitement to work with her. He looks forward to raising awareness of existing options for battling loneliness.
With a nod, Dr. Westheimer is taking on the role with gusto. After all, a city that never sleeps can’t be a city that always weeps.