• Young people (18-25) and early 50’s the loneliest people in South Australia

  • People in their 30’s and 60’s are the most connected

Uniting Communities has released a report today on loneliness amongst South Australians.  Citizens were surveyed both before the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions (mid-March) and during peak isolation (end of April) about loneliness, isolation and feelings of connection with each other.

The report highlights

  • An 8% increase in the number of South Australians who are feeling lonely following the introduction of COVID isolation measure
  • 61% of people surveyed felt lonely “often” (14%) or “some of the time” (47%) in South Australia, during the peak period of COVID isolation
  • 78% of people aged 18-24 years felt lonely sometimes (53%) or often (25%), the highest levels of loneliness for any age group

The survey highlights that “It’s time we took loneliness more seriously,” said Uniting Communities Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel. “When people feel shut out of communities or disconnected from others, everyone loses.  Research confirms that people experiencing loneliness experience worse physical and mental health”.  Mr Schrapel added that “our community also suffers as a result of lower levels of participation from those experiencing loneliness”.

Of course, COVID-19 and associated isolation will increase levels of isolation in our community, but our challenge is to make sure that this does not lead to chronic loneliness. Uniting Communities will keep tracking South Australians’ sense of loneliness over the coming weeks and months and share ways to respond.   Mr Schrapel said “we want these results to be a call to action for all South Australians to not only talk about loneliness but also what we can all do to overcome it”.

Uniting Communities is ‘practicing what we preach’ in seeking to overcome loneliness, by encouraging people to build and maintain connection with other people, through delivering essential services including  Lifeline and the SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line.  Uniting Communities also maintained visitation to its aged care homes to help maintain resident connections and quality of life throughout COVID-19 lockdowns.

Uniting Communities wants to encourage South Australians to take two actions.

  1. Firstly, seek out extra connection, particularly with people who are becoming less connected with family and society.
  2. We also want to hear how people are overcoming loneliness, send us a note to our Facebook page @UnitingCommuitiesOz

Mr Schrapel concluded that “We have to make sure that loneliness is not our next pandemic.”

Helplines:
SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 1800 632 753
Lifeline 13 11 14