Last week I had the privilege of spending some time with the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. For those who don’t know, the US Surgeon General is appointed by the President of the United States and is the Nation’s Doctor, providing Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

The Surgeon General oversees the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, an elite group of over 6,000 uniformed officers who are public health professionals. The USPHS mission is to protect, promote, and advance the health of our nation.

The conversations that I heard and participated in were around Dr. Murthy’s top priority, youth mental health.  Dr. Murthy centered the conversation around the importance of relationships, the impact of social media, and the role that we each have in supporting our nation’s youth.  Much of what Dr. Murthy spoke about aligns so closely with the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. When young people have positive relationships with others, they don’t feel as lonely and they can focus on discovering their gifts and talents.  This may seem simple, but I think it’s extraordinarily important.

He made sure to point out that although often adults think- “things were hard for me too when I was a kid- they will get through it”, it’s not actually true.  Kids’ lived experience today is much different than it was for many adults in just thinking about their relationship to information and social media alone. Dr. Murthy is encouraging peer to peer mentoring as well as encouraging youth to look out for each other by making sure that everyone in their schools feel a sense of belonging.

This is the advisory and it’s broken down by what groups can do!  Take a look. Share as you see fit.

 surgeon-general-youth-mental-health-advisory.pdf (

I would encourage all of us to really think about how we can become more relationship focused. What are the things that we can do to make sure that those in our own lives don’t feel lonely?

If you are not already a mentor, being a mentor can really make a big difference in the life of a young person!  Go to to learn more.