Loneliness is a public health issue.
The great irony of the digital age is that people have never been more connected. But people have never reported feeling more lonely. The mental health effects of isolation can be devastating.
The effects on communities and society as a whole are corrosive. Official government figures say that 200,000 older people living in the UK have not had a conversation with a friend, relative or anyone they know for over a month. That is a devastating statistic.
Last week, the Government unveiled Britain’s first ever loneliness strategy, albeit focused on England. It’s wide-ranging.
The measures vary from postal delivery workers checking on isolated folk during their rounds, to GPs prescribing social activities such as dance classes for those who present as lonely. There is an investment of £1.8m over the next five years.
The change for everybody will be far-reaching and profound
It was murdered MP Jo Cox who had first attempted to deal, on a national level, with the scourge of loneliness and the PM paid tribute as she rolled out the scheme.