UNB Professor Dr. Bill Howatt is releasing a book during Mental Health Week titled The Cure for Loneliness. Dr. Howatt, who teaches UNB CEL's Pathway to Coping and Mental Fitness online courses and is a renowned mental health expert and addictions counsellor, says the book gives readers the tools to build meaningful connections with the people in different parts of their lives.
“The Cure for Loneliness is designed to help people move beyond mental traps that may be holding them back from developing authentic relationships," he explained. "The book drills into the root causes of isolation and loneliness and gives the reader tools to tackle each one.”
He believes that building connections is more important now than it was before the pandemic hit because people need authentic social connections as much as they need food and water, and when we lack these connections it impacts our mental and physical health.
Dr. Howatt believes that we're living through a loneliness epidemic that started long before COVID-19, and that the most important thing he learnt while writing the book was the difference between isolation and loneliness.
“An isolated person is someone who is disconnected from others yet may not feel lonely. On the other hand, we can experience loneliness even in relationships, at work, or while surrounded by other people. What surprised me the most was how big the problem with loneliness was before Covid, and why it's only just now being considered an issue as concerning as depression.”
The book contains self-reflection exercises, real-life case studies, cognitive behavioral techniques, as well as other tools which are based on years of research and testing of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques and have been proven to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The Cure for Loneliness launches alongside Hugr. Hugr is a wellness app designed by Dr. Howatt's human resources firm, Howatt HQ, to help people identify the social connection gaps in their own lives. It's available on the App Store and Google Play.
The book is being released on May 4 and will be available at local bookshops as well as online retailers like Amazon. Pre-ordering a copy gets you a free workbook!