A national organisation has officially launched today, recognising the growing problem of loneliness in our community and starting a national campaign to bring people together.
The coalition group – Ending Loneliness Together – has launched a landmark whitepaper which delivered recommendations across multiple sectors to drive a national approach to ending loneliness.
“The impact of loneliness in Australia is broad and deep; it cuts across all sectors of our society” said Scientific Chair, Dr Michelle Lim, Australia’s leading scientific expert on loneliness.
“Loneliness relates to the quality of our social relationships and is typically characterised by subjective feelings of social disconnection. People feel that they don’t belong, or that they’re misunderstood. Loneliness distorts how we relate to others and disrupts social cohesion in our communities.”
“Loneliness was already prevalent in Australia prior to the onset of COVID-19. And the impact of loneliness is expected to endure beyond the immediate public health crisis. We need to address this issue on a national level, to respond to the current crisis, and prepare Australians to increase their social resilience for the future” Dr Lim said.
Ending Loneliness Together is a registered charity created by a national network of universities and industry partners to address loneliness in Australia. Through a collaborative approach, their aim is to raise awareness of loneliness as an important social, health and economic problem, harness and learn from lived experiences of loneliness, and build the evidence base and tools necessary to tackle chronic loneliness effectively.
The founding organisations are Relationships Australia, the University of Western Australia, WayAhead, The Whiddon Group, Swinburne University of Technology, UnitingCare Australia, and State Schools’ Relief.
Relationships Australia National Executive Officer, Nick Tebbey, said loneliness can have devastating impacts on relationships and it is vital to equip people with the tools they need to foster healthy connections.
“Sustainable social connections are important as a key tool to addressing loneliness in our communities. We’re proud to be a founding member of Ending Loneliness Together and continue in our commitment to reducing the stigma of loneliness, to support healthy relationships and to provide wrap-around support when people are at their most vulnerable”, said Mr Tebbey.
UnitingCare Australia National Director, Claerwen Little said that loneliness is something we can all relate to.
“Loneliness affects everyone at some point in their life. As a result of the pandemic, loneliness is more prominent in our communities than ever. It’s time for that to change – which is what Endling Loneliness Together is all about” said Ms Little.