Rtn Brigitte gave a presentation at the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce's event on Health and Wellbeing, revealing that:
Rotary’s survey found that nearly half of people (47%) in the UK and Ireland felt lonely, with a third (32%) feeling more alone than they did five years ago.
It appears that this epidemic is affecting the younger generation in particular with over one in ten (14%) in the 20-34 age group say they feel lonely all the time compared to just 3% of over 55’s.
This is despite more than a fifth (22%) of retired people only having face-to-face interactions with just one other person or no one at all during a typical day.
Loneliness and social isolation have a huge impact on our mental wellbeing and the report found it had the following effect on individuals:
- Low self-esteem (30%)
- Depression (27%)
- Anxiety (26%)
- Trouble sleeping (24%)
- Irregular eating (16%)
- Lack of appetite (12%)
- Headaches (11%)
- Brain fog, confusion or memory loss (10%)
- Stomach pains / digestive issues (8%)
While social media has been a great tool for connecting people all over the world, it has done little to combat loneliness with a third of people saying it provides a “superficial” connection with people and more than a fifth (22%) claiming technology and social media has made them uncomfortable meeting others in real life.
One of the key findings in the report identifies the importance of groups and initiatives, such as organisations like Rotary and the projects it is involved in. Currently, only 16% get involved in groups or volunteering to help meet new people, whereas nearly one fifth (19%) said they would like to join a group but wouldn’t know how to or where to look.
Throughout the past year, Rotary clubs have held a whole host of events, projects and initiatives to help combat loneliness and social isolation in local areas. These include:
- Working with local colleges to support befriending services
- Facilitating dementia cafes
- Supporting young carers to have a break and meet people their own age
- Offering pick up services and putting on parties and events to get people out of the house
Rotary is present within most towns and cities, supporting community cohesion and underpinning the fabric of society. Working alongside other community groups, Rotary is often the facilitator bringing support teams together.
But it is our millennial generations that need to be brought into Rotary to ensure the 113-year legacy is maintained and importantly evolves to ensure relevance in the 21st century and beyond.
With data analysis from our State of the Nation report showing that people have devised tactics to distract from feeling lonely, it was sadly revealed that 62% put the television on while 27% have spoken to a pet. Results have also found women (49%) are more likely to feel lonelier than men but more men experience loneliness at work.
You can download a full report of the findings from the Rotary State of the Nation 2019 report on our State of the Nation page.