CNN (2/23, Marples) reports, “Talking to someone on the phone for 10 minutes multiple times a week – if you’re in control of the conversation – can decrease loneliness,” research indicates. Healio (2/23, Gramigna) reports, “A layperson-delivered, empathy-oriented telephone call program improved participants’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to results of a randomized clinical trial” that “recruited 240 adults between July 6, 2020, and Sept. 24, 2020.” Participants were “assigned via block randomization to receive calls or no calls.” The findings were published online Feb. 23 in JAMA Psychiatry. According to Psychiatric News (2/23), the study found that “participants in the intervention group improved from a mean of 6.5 to 5.2 on the UCLA Loneliness Scale and in the control group, from 6.5 to 6.3,” while “depression decreased from a mean of 6.3 to 4.8 on the PHQ-8, and in the control arm, increased from a mean of 6.2 to 6.3.” For people “in the intervention group, anxiety decreased from a mean of 5.9 to 4.1 on the GAD-7, and in the control arm, increased from a mean of 5.8 to 6.0.” The study authors “noted that additional studies are needed to assess whether the participants continued to experience benefits after the program ended and/or if a longer program would lead to greater improvements.”(SOURCE: APA Headlines)