Monday 4th June 2018

Loneliness is an issue of our time. Newspaper reports from earlier this year suggest we are facing a loneliness epidemic.  According to a recent study by the Red Cross, more than nine million adults in the UK are often or always lonely. As we become older it can become harder to make friends or time and distance means we see people less.

But loneliness is not dictated to by age. Many of our younger people are living in a world defined by likes, shares and retweets.  Recent studies have shown that those who spend a large proportion of time on Social Media are more likely to suffer from low esteem and anxiety. The platforms that were designed to connect, are now adding to feelings of isolation or provide pressure to conform or appear popular.

The campaigning and advocacy of groups like the Jo Cox Commission is ensuring loneliness is finally being taken seriously. The Government have appointed a Minister for Loneliness; and there is a growing trend to highlight the issue in the media. We all feel lonely sometimes and it can affect us to varying degrees but it is important that we recognise when do feel lonely and look for the help and support that is out there.

Whether old or young, most people have a strong need to feel a sense of belonging and connection with like-minded others. Communities can provide a sense of identity and belonging, which protects people from feeling lonely or isolated in times of change. Having a hub of people with shared experiences, passions or culture, having a hub of people to connect with is good for our health and well-being.

The first step to end loneliness is to show we care. That is why along with Caritas we are supporting the Loneliness Connects Us Seminar, 23 June, at St Michael’s Hall, Whitefield. The aim is to raise the awareness of loneliness, by participating and creating an environment where young and older people and professionals in health care, can share ideas and create projects to End Loneliness.

The Loneliness Connects Us project is youth co-research project, developed by MMU and 42nd Street, to bring the voice of young people into the growing conversation about youth loneliness and answer these questions.

For more information on this event and to register please follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/loneliness-connects-us-seminar-tickets-45481045030

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