We are a lonely nation

One in six Australians report feeling severe loneliness, according to a key finding in the first State of the Nation Report into social connection from the charity, Ending Loneliness Together.


The study was released to coincide with the inaugural national Loneliness Awareness Week and provided a snapshot of about 4,000 Australians, aged 18 to 92 years old.


Michelle Lim, who heads the coalition of research organisations involved in the report said, “People can, and often are, reporting feeling lonely, even though they are not physically isolated.”


The report defines loneliness as “a distressing feeling we get when we feel disconnected from other people, and desire more (or more satisfying) social relationships”.


The loneliest demographics were those aged 18 to 24 and 45 to 54, who said they felt the most ‘disconnection’.

“Around 15 per cent of the population say that they always and often feel lonely,” Dr Lim said. “Some of these age groups are not necessarily people who are socially isolated; they are very much well embedded within our communities and society,” she said.


“But they still feel or complain quite frequently about feeling lonely.”


The research also found that 58 per cent of people did not talk about feeling lonely, and that 25 per cent of Australians described people who were lonely as “less worthy”.


Technology and social media played a role for those with addictive behaviours. “What we can see in the data is that social media use and frequency of using it is actually not related to loneliness,” she said. “But when we actually develop what we call addictive-type behaviours, that … seems to be very much associated with higher levels of loneliness.”


“Around one-third of Australians say they feel really ashamed when they feel lonely,” Dr Lim added.


Information gleaned from discover.abc.net.au/


Further details at: https://endingloneliness.com.au/


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