The Campaign is asking for three things from the Victorian Government:
1. Create a ministerial portfolio for loneliness.
2. Make education about the problem a priority in schools.
3. Create ongoing social health campaigns to increase awareness of loneliness and give people the tools to help their neighbours.
The Campaign’s primary aim is to elevate the prevalence and seriousness of loneliness in Victoria by allocating a ministerial portfolio to address loneliness.
The campaign is calling on local Victorians to write to their MP and ask them to make loneliness a priority, set for debate in the Victorian Legislative Council this Wednesday, 17 November 2021.
Ending Loneliness Together Chair and Scienific Chair, and Australia’s leading scientific expert on loneliness, Dr Michelle H Lim, said the campaign is a welcome step forward in the growing movement to address loneliness in Australia.
“Loneliness is the next major social, health, and economic issue of our time and has detrimental implications for our health and well-being.”
“We know that 5 million Australians are lonely at any given time. While organisations are beginning to direct their time and energy to address loneliness in the community, we often miss critical opportunities to collaborate, share knowledge, and pool resources for more effective solutions.”
“Partners across all sectors must work together to align the movement to address loneliness in this country. A ministerial portfolio to address loneliness in Victoria is a welcome step to empower all Victorians to meaningfully connect,” said Dr Lim.
This motion comes as other developed nations around the world legislate dedicated resources to address rising rates of loneliness. In 2018, Britain announced the world’s first minister for loneliness through the appointment of Tracey Crouch. More recently in 2020, Japan appointed Tetsushi Sakamoto to the same role amid rising suicide rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several articles have been written about why Australia needs a ministerial focus on loneliness. In Victoria, a ministerial portfolio could work to ensure that adequate resources and funding are invested into effectively addressing loneliness across the state.
While this campaign shines a spotlight on the social, health and economic impacts of loneliness in Victoria, we hope that it will be a catalyst for further national action across all sectors to tackle loneliness across the country. In 2020, Ending Loneliness Together welcomed the establishment of the Parliamentary Friends for Ending Loneliness, a bipartisan political group to raise awareness of loneliness in Australia co-chaired by Victorian Labor MP Andrew Giles and NSW Liberal MP Fiona Martin.
“A ministerial portfolio for loneliness in Victoria will complement the national Parliamentary Friends of Ending Loneliness and will hopefully inspire others to commence work in this vital area,” said Dr Lim.
More recently, Ending Loneliness Together joined forces with The Australian Psychological Society and R U OK? to advocate for a coordinated National Strategy to Address Loneliness in Australia driven by evidence-based research.
Today, we invite you to join us in support of the Let’s End Loneliness campaign.