As loneliness becomes an increasing public health concern, psychologists and researchers are looking at the power of human connection. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has collaborated with Swinburne University to conduct a loneliness study in Australia. Using the UCLA Loneliness Scale, the research has revealed:
- One in four Australian adults are lonely
- One in two feel lonely for at least one day in a week
- One in four feel lonely for three or more days
- Nearly 30% rarely or never feel part of a group of friends
- 5% do not feel they have a lot in common with the people around them
- 4% do not feel they have people they can turn to
- Lonely Australians are 15.2% more likely to be depressed and 13.1% more likely to be anxious about social interactions than those not lonely.
Loneliness is at the core of many mental, physical and social health challenges and can also play a role in larger societal issues. Last year, across On the Line’s mental health counselling services, 22% of our clients were calling about loneliness, which was double the number from the previous year.
Kim O’Neill, CEO at On the Line, said, “Loneliness is increasingly being classified as a disease: one that affects people of all ages and walks of life. Our ageing population and increased life expectancy mean that the issue will only become more urgent as time goes on. Distressingly, loneliness has also skyrocketed among teens and young adults in recent years. Collectively, we need to take action and treat loneliness as a public health threat, pursuing ideas like emphasising social skills training for kids and adding social connectedness as a key health indicator.”
During National Psychology Week, the APS is offering tips to connect with others. Download their resource to help you enjoy better interactions with the people you encounter and feel the benefits of a positive connection.
If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out to one of our counselling services. Our professional counsellors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.