HOUSTON (KIAH) – The YMCA of Greater Houston is combatting loneliness and isolation by helping Houstonians build connections through its new “Connection Guest Pass.”

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently declared a public health crisis of loneliness, isolation and lack of connection in the country. Dr. Murthy shared that disconnection fundamentally affects mental, physical and societal health and is linked to major medical problems such as insomnia, depression and immune changes as well as higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, addiction, dementia and more.

Introducing the “Connection Guest Pass” will help YMCAs across Houston battle the dangers of loneliness by providing a space for individuals to have positive experiences and build relationships with others.

CW39 Houston sat down with Talybra Hollins from the YMCA to discuss more about the “Connection Guest Pass.”

Additionally, the nonprofit is offering complimentary summer teen memberships to teens age 13-18 now – August 31. The membership gives teens a chance to connect during the summer months and participate in a range of activities such as swimming, group exercise, monthly social events, college readiness opportunities and more. Teens can also attend mental health wellness workshops with Y Teen L.I.F.E. where they reflect on their emotions and learn different approaches when faced with life challenges or mental health concerns. Seniors and adults can build relationships by participating in the ForeverWell program, group exercise classes and more.

To learn more about the YMCA’s “Connection Guest Pass” and programs aimed at combatting loneliness and isolation, visit your local YMCA center or ymcahouston.org/get-connected.