Loneliness and its side effects

July 15, 2021 by Community Editor
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Sydney’s Emanuel Synagogue will be exploring the topic of ‘loneliness’ as part of their upcoming Health Matters event later this month.

Loneliness is a problem that’s impacting a wide segment of the population, and its side effects can have lasting impacts.

Dr Michelle Lim will be there to discuss the subject and explore possible remedies and solutions to its ongoing impact on the Australian public.

People who experience a negative feeling when social needs aren’t being met by their immediate circle of friends or relatives are experiencing loneliness, and its effects are more impactful and widespread than many would have considered.

According to Dr Lim, Chief Scientific Advisor for Ending Loneliness Together and Director of the Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory, loneliness is a critical issue of our time and one which needs to be addressed for the greater good.

“Humans are social creatures, as people, we rely on what’s familiar, reassuring, and positive around us so that we might progress in the world and prosper in every regard,” Dr Lim said.

“When we are feeling lonely, we are more vulnerable to experiencing poorer health outcomes, whether it is poor physical or mental health. Fortunately, we can make efforts to stay meaningfully connected with each other even with the current challenges of this pandemic.”

Loneliness impacting 1 in 4 of us

Dr Lim’s research findings have been released, noting how one in four Australians aged 12 to 89 report problematic levels of loneliness. She found that many people who feel lonely will often suffer in silence. Her research has shown that this issue is often stigmatised, driven by a fear among those who suffer from or feel loneliness or unneeded as seeming weak, vulnerable, or inept. But a solution is at hand.

“There have been significant advancements in research on loneliness and its detrimental implications for our health and the wellbeing of communities, workplaces and schools,” she said.

Dr Lim’s insights as to the widespread experience of loneliness has shown the impact of poor social relationships on mortality, and how it is comparably negative as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, as well as consuming alcohol.

“It’s something with an impact exceeding that of a lack of physical activity and obesity. Lonely individuals are at higher risk of hypertension, poor sleep and the onset of disability.”

Collaboration to find an answer

Through working together to destigmatize the experience of loneliness, people who experience it will be more empowered to build meaningful social connections.

Dr Lim recently led the launch of Ending Loneliness Together, a pivotal white paper on the subject (which is available for download).

Date: Sunday 25 July

Time:  10:30am-12:00pm

Cost: Members – Free otherwise $10

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Comments

One Response to “Loneliness and its side effects”
  1. Harlene Wiener says:

    My son moved to Sydney right before the lockdown for Covid. He never really had the chance to meet anyone and because of the rules in Sydney will be alone for the high holidays. In Montréal, where we live, meals are sent to those alone. Does such a program exist in Sydney?
    Thank you.

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