Loneliness: The Silent Killer

Published on 4 May 2023 at 09:13

Loneliness has long been associated with poor mental health but alarming new research has highlighted the devastating effects it can also have on our physical health.


A top US health official touched on this today likening the effects of loneliness to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.


He also pointed to alarming statistics which show that as many as 80% of people in the US suffer with, or have suffered with, debilitating loneliness. In the UK the estimated cost to the economy of what has been described as an epidemic of loneliness is upwards of £3bn. The highest rates of loneliness are reported in 16-24 year olds with many reporting a lack of friends or a feeling of distance from family.

All of this highlights the importance of the third pillar of health which is most often overlooked.

We have long known the positives of having good physical health, and mental health is becoming more widely discussed and better understood. Unfortunately, social health feels like the middle child - overlooked and often forgotten.

The causes of this loneliness epidemic are manifold and are discussion for society to have as a whole.

Rather than focusing on causes I would like to put up some solutions for consideration:

1. Get off our devices and arrange to meet friends and family face to face. The internet is great and everything but it makes us lazy in all aspects of life. Communicating with those we care about is no different. 2.Stop arranging to meet at the pub. I like a drink as much as the next person but if all of your socialising is done through a veil of booze it doesn't help with having meaningful experiences. 3.Put your phone away when with friends and family. It doesn't do any good to meet up with people and then all just sit there scrolling on separate devices. 4.Join a sports club or team or join a martial arts club. These are tried and tested ways to build relationships and a sense of belonging, decreasing loneliness. 5.Get a hobby and join a group that shares your interest. A book club, chess club, dungeons and dragons club- it doesn't matter, spend one evening a week hanging out with people with a shared interest.

If you have any more suggestions, please comment below!

Above all, whatever you try...

Be lucky x

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