Tackling Loneliness and Social Isolation
At the end of 2017, BBC News Wales published an in-depth article about Loneliness and Isolation.
The Welsh Health, Social Care and Sport Committee received evidence that around half a million people in Wales feel lonely, whether always or often. There was particular concern about the implication for older people who may be too embarrassed to admit to feelings of loneliness. This suggests the numbers could be underestimated. However, loneliness is not just an issue for the elderly; it affects people of all ages. The health implications of the lack of social interaction are as damaging to an individual’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
The Welsh Government launched a national conversation about combating loneliness and social isolation in Wales at the end of 2018. Huw Irranca-Davies said that loneliness and social isolation is a growing threat to public health. The economic consequences of loneliness and isolation can also be significant, estimated to reach £2.6bn a year in Wales. The Welsh Government’s Programme, Taking Wales Forward, includes a commitment to develop a nationwide and cross-government strategy to address these issues (Page 8). The strategy will cover people of all ages and all backgrounds.
The consultation document, “Connected Communities; Tackling Loneliness and Social Isolation”, explains the Government’s view of the Wales they want to see. It presents evidence it has received and explains what it has done so far. Finally, it describes their suggestions for the future. The consultation then poses a series of questions designed to facilitate discussion amongst organisations and individuals about what more is necessary to tackle loneliness and social isolation effectively, including access to services.
You can access other Welsh Government reports that are relevant to this discussion from the links below:
The Consultation Response
The article about our response to the consultation can be read HERE.
It contains a link to our full response.