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Groundswell Foundation has released a report that highlights the most impacted groups in our society when it comes to loneliness. The report talks about our “world of social media and digital connectedness” having an impact on what is becoming a health crisis in our country. Exacerbated by the pandemic there’s never been a more pressing time to address actions that need to be taken to help our most vulnerable demographics.
Young adults are at particularly high risk, with 37–50% of people aged 18–24 reported to be lonely. Parents, particularly single parents, older people and people who live alone are also more impacted. It is also an issue among minority groups. First Nations people, those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and migrants experience higher levels of loneliness compared to national averages.
Community-level interventions are taking place globally to address loneliness. One program focused on women over the age of 55 took place in the Netherlands. The program is called the ‘Friendship Enrichment Program’ and has seen positive results in decreasing the number of women who were reported as being lonely (11% decrease compared to the control group which saw a 6% decrease). In an Australian context, this would see a cost-benefit to healthcare treatment costs and productivity gains of $2.87 for every $1 paid to run the program (over a period of 5 years).
Read the full report here.