Loneliness is toxic to our health devastating to our communities. The price of inaction is enormous, but luckily we can all do something to make it better: call our friends and relatives, talk to people on the train.
In the last few decades, loneliness has escalated from personal misfortune into a social epidemic.
Loneliness has become a public health issue. Growing numbers of people are unable to respond to their loneliness and connect to others. And it is not just a personal problem.
Loneliness has become structured into society and often we cannot overcome it without help. When we lose the social life of relationships we need, we are vulnerable to illness and death.
Loneliness needs to be tackled at every level in society. Individuals, families and employers all have a role. National and local government require fresh thinking on how public services including education, health and social care are delivered.
Social change needs millions of small changes. We need to create new institutions, services and organisations that connect people with one another. And we need to think how we can use new technologies to expand connectivity not social isolation and enrich rather than impoverish society.
On Monday 11th December I was able to speak at the Policy Exchange event and set out my reflections on the scale of the challenge of loneliness and how it can be addressed, following my year co-chairing the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. One of the points I made was that, we need to think how we can use new technologies to expand connectivity not social isolation to enrich rather than impoverish society.
Following our hard work, I am delighted that the Prime Minister has announced that the Government will be accepting the recommendations of the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission. It has been an honour to continue the work on loneliness that Jo started.
Below is a link to a blog I have written, with Seema Kennedy, about how loneliness can have a drastic effect on our health and wellbeing.