DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The US Surgeon General made a stop in Durham on Wednesday at Duke University.
It's part of a national tour to raise awareness about loneliness, social isolation and the mental health challenges facing college-aged Americans.
Before the event, Dr. Vivek Murthy sat down exclusively with ABC11.
Murthy said he is really hopeful this tour really starts a movement to help students rebuild some of the connections they've lost.
In the interview, Murthy blamed loneliness, social media and of course the pandemic for a lot of these losses students have experienced.
"My hope is that young people can walk not only with a better understanding of the power of social connection but with a sense of empowerment, actual tools that they can use to foster strong relationships in their life," Murthy said.
Duke University was the first of eight stops on a national tour called "We Are Made to Connect."
Murthy later joined Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer on stage to start a dialogue about social connections.
Murthy issued a Surgeon General warning earlier this year on youth mental health and social media. Clearly, he wants people to talk more about these concepts and about loneliness overall.
"Most people are surprised to realize that loneliness is bad for your health," he said. "When we struggle with loneliness, it increases our anxiety and depression and suicide, but also our risk of heart disease and dementia and death.
"So, this is a public health issue," he added. "Loneliness is a public health challenge, and one I want us to marshal our resources together to address as a country."
Social media is a big part of this. Murthy said it is important to start a conversation with your children about their social media use, draw boundaries around it and also to lead by example.
Murthy's next stop will be Thursday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.