A recent report by VicHealth suggested that there is a new public health challenge emerging and it might not be what most of you would think. It’s loneliness.
According to VicHealth “loneliness is proving to be more than just part of the human condition. New research shows it’s a serious public health problem, for young people as much as the elderly“.
While it may not be a surprise that loneliness can have links to depression, global studies are showing links but the idea that loneliness can be associated to poorer cardiovascular health, faster cognitive decline rates and possibly even dementia.
There’s a stigma to loneliness too, but a new Australian non-profit is here to change that.
Friends for Good raises awareness of loneliness as a significant issue in the community and addresses gaps in services to foster a greater sense of connection and wellbeing for individuals and communities. They are doing research, educating the community and providing services targeted to socially isolated people.
They are currently conducting an online survey, called Time We Talked, where from almost 600 respondents they are learning that over a quarter are currently feeling lonely. Earlier this year Friends for Good launched Friendline, a support line for anyone who is suffering from or affected by loneliness.
And in November, the organisation will host the first national conference on loneliness in Australia. The Australian Loneliness Dialogue aims to bring people together to understand loneliness in our communities, raise the profile of this issue and to develop recommendations for actions required by government, policy makers and practitioners.
This Thank You Thursday we give a shout out to the team and Friends for Good. In a short amount of time this small non-profit already seems to be punching above its weight. We look forward to seeing how they foster connections and build community further as they grow.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick