Before the emergence of Covid 19, another epidemic was spreading quietly and inconspicuously across the world, less contagious but still damaging to health and wellbeing. The epidemic of loneliness targets the connectedness which is at the heart of human flourishing.
Loneliness is an almost universal human experience, albeit often transient and associated with certain life experiences or events. In recent years it has become more pervasive and persistent. The Kaiser Family Foundation Report in 2018 found that twenty percent of adults in the United Kingdom say they often feel lonely or lack companionship. Research by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness in 2017 found that over nine million adults in the UK are either always or often lonely and two hundred thousand older Britons had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month. The prevalence of loneliness among young people is even higher. Three in five 18-34 year olds feel lonely often or sometimes and nearly half of 10-15year olds.
Authors: John Kyle, Sonia Magee, Deborah Miller
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