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Loneliness Makes Headlines Around the World

Submitted by Paul Born on May 14, 2018 - 2:22am

I was struck by the global interest when Britain’s Prime Minister appointed a Minister of Loneliness. The New York Times, CBC, The Globe and nearly every major paper I have ever heard of, covered this story within days.

Here are some highlights from the coverage:

  • A press release announces the Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a Minister of Loneliness as the first step in implementing several recommendations that will combat loneliness and social isolation throughout the country. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” Prime Minister May says. “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”
  • Melissa Healy at the Los Angeles Times reports that loneliness is not just a mental condition. Extended feelings of loneliness can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic inflammation and even dementia. It strikes people regardless of age, gender or situation in life.
  • The most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined, the American Psychological Association heard last summer.
  • [Labour MP Rachel] Reeves and Conservative Seema Kennedy, who also worked on the [Jo Cox] commission, published a pamphlet in which they warned the negative health effects of chronic loneliness costs the British economy £32 billion ($55 billion CDN) every year. (CBC)
  • It's one thing to be alone. It's another to feel lonely. Researchers have pinned that sentiment to a range of negative health outcomes - even saying it's as bad as 17 cigarettes a day. We hear local reaction to the news that the U.K. has created a Ministry of Loneliness to tackle the issue. (CBC news)

Canada's own CBC Metro Morning asked the question, Do we need a Ministry of Loneliness in Canada? Listen to the discussion here

I find the great interest in this topic to be profound – that we are officially recognizing loneliness as a global issue that needs to be addressed. 

At Tamarack we will follow this issue, continue to bring you ideas to build community, and will focus more on bringing you helpful resources, tools and knowledge for combatting loneliness.