Loneliness Awareness WeekPosted on 24th June 2019 by Jo Crease
Last week was Loneliness Awareness Week and watching the social media wave has been amazing. As the wonderful Campaign To End Loneliness say, it wasn’t so long ago that loneliness was not recognised as the huge issue it is, and now it’s being widely talked about.
Since last week, I’ve seen articles and tweets highlighting things that can cause loneliness (health conditions, bereavement, poverty, workplace isolation, urban life, rural life and more) or caused by loneliness (higher levels of disease and disability). Social media is heralded as both the cause and the solution. And, brilliantly, it’s increasingly accepted that age doesn’t matter – loneliness is an Everybody Issue.
For me, it was a swift succession of things: moving cities, the shock of motherhood, followed by bereavement and divorce, and the attendant mental health wobbles along the way… For you, it will be different.
But we all know that feeling, don’t we? We can all relate to it, and none of us want it for ourselves, or others.
Given that there’s no single cause of loneliness, it’s clear that there is no single solution. The wonderful news is that there are a multitude of solutions and they’re increasing in popularity and spreading like wildfire.
I’ve seen examples this week citing pets and animals (hello Canine Partners!), reading, the arts (hello Unite the Beat!), activities (hello Ageing Well!), sharing food (hello B&H Food Partnership!), saying hi to neighbours, chatty bus (hello Brighton & Hove Buses!), chatty café, chatty bench… Social prescribing gets a lot of mentions, and we know this first hand. Loneliness and isolation are the biggest single reason for people accessing our own Social Prescribing service.
It’s fantastic that all these responses exist, and it’s an encouraging start. What’s notable is that the initiatives that seem to work best are the most local.
We have worked in Brighton, Hove and beyond for the last twenty years connecting people to change lives. You can help us harness Loneliness Awareness Week’s spike of interest in loneliness, and turn it into local action. You can make a huge difference here in your community by volunteering with us, supporting, fundraising with us, sharing our stories. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch.