The government is asking organisations with expertise and experience in tackling loneliness to provide views on the strategy framework being developed. It is believed that factors contributing to loneliness include disability, ill health and caring responsibilities. The closing date for comments is 20 July 2018.
The Government’s Loneliness Strategy will be its first step in tackling the long-term challenge of loneliness. Loneliness is a complex issue that affects many different groups of people, and its evidence base is still developing. The current evidence base tends to measure loneliness in terms of frequency, and it shows that people who feel lonely most or all of the time are more likely to suffer ill health.
In addition, people who feel lonely more often can become more sensitive to perceived threats and withdraw further, creating a vicious cycle. As a result, the stratgey will look at approaches that reduce the risk, prevent loneliness or that intervene early, before loneliness becomes entrenched.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently analysed how individual circumstances and characteristics contribute to the likelihood of experiencing loneliness, holding all else equal. The ONS found that the following were significant factors:
- age – younger people (16-24) were significantly more likely to report feeling lonely
- gender – women were more likely to report feeling lonely
- marital status – widowed people were more likely to report feeling lonely
- disability and ill-health (self-reported) – those reporting were more likely to feel lonely
- number of adults in the household – those living alone were more likely to report feeling lonely
- caring responsibilities – those caring were more likely to report feeling lonely
- neighbourhood connectedness – those who do not chat to neighbours more than to say hello, or do not feel as though they belong to or satisfied with their neighbourhood were more likely to report feeling lonely
- how often you meet up in person with family members or friends – those who met up once a month or less were more likely to feel lonely
Read more about the Government’s Loneliness Strategy