Loneliness is a killer that stalks the youngest to the oldest across borders.
It is increasingly seen as one of the largest health issues facing the world. Consider these three staggering factors that make loneliness a major health hazard:
- Loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
- Loneliness is worse for you than obesity.
- Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease and depression.
In January, the United Kingdom appointed Tracey Crouch as Loneliness Minister, to carry on the work started by Labor MP Jo Cox, whose brutal death at the hands of a political fanatic just before the « Brexit » election in June 2016 shocked the nation. Tracey Crouch will be working closely with NGOs like the End Loneliness Campaign launched by five partner organizations in 2011. The nationwide campaign is bearing fruit and regular workshops are drawing more and more people into the campaign. The campaign video shown below struck a deep chord and went viral. It responds to the question « Could you go a week without seeing anyone?”. It goes on to show that this is, in fact, the stark reality for over half a million older people in the UK. The campaign has built a research hub and welcomes interaction with researchers wherever they are. View Loneliness Assessment Brochure.
Four Antidotes to Loneliness
Gillian Leithman, Ph.D. from Montreal, wrote an article about the disastrous effects of loneliness and it too went viral. “Independence is glorified in North American culture as a symbol of strength”, she wrote. « As a society, we value individual achievement and extol self-reliance.
« I am an expert on aging and retirement and I also help employees transition from work to retirement by facilitating seminars and workshops in corporate Canada. And I often wonder if our “Go at it alone” attitude has led us down a lonely and isolating path. »