This Sunday, Dr Michelle Lim will describe the impact of loneliness, which is fast becoming Australia’s other pandemic…and you can be part of the discussion.
COVID-19 has pushed loneliness further into the public conversation as people across the world have been forced indoors. While having health connotations, terms like “social distancing,” “self-isolation,” and “shelter in place” have had a profound impact on our mental health. “We’re all lonely now,” novelist Olivia Laing wrote in a New York Times column just after the first round of lockdowns began. “Social distancing is vital, but that doesn’t make it easy.”
But, the truth is that loneliness was rising even before the pandemic. “Modern progress has brought unprecedented advances that make it easier for us technically to connect,” writes Vivek Murthy in Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, “but often these advances create unforeseen challenges that make us feel more alone and disconnected.” Social media, for instance, can bring people together but it also drives people apart. As a result, many are keeping to themselves, and thus, depression and anxiety are on the rise.
As Dr Michelle Lim (Chief Scientific Advisor for Ending Loneliness Together and Director of the Social Health and Wellbeing Laboratory) recently discovered, loneliness impacts 1 in 4 Australians, making it one of the most critical puzzles we need to solve.
There is, fortunately, a solution at hand. As Dr Lim will outline in the upcoming Health Matters event, significant advancements in research on loneliness are allowing us to better understand its physical and mental impact on all of us.
“Humans are social creatures, as people we rely on what’s familiar, reassuring, and positive around us so that we might progress in the world and prosper in every regard…when we are feeling lonely, we are more vulnerable to experiencing poorer health outcomes, whether it is poor physical or mental health. Fortunately, we can make efforts to stay meaningfully connected with each other even with the current challenges of this pandemic,” Dr Lim said.
Emanuel Synagogue in Woollahra will be exploring the topic of ‘loneliness’ as part of their upcoming Health Matters event on Sunday 25 July. Dr Lim will outline loneliness, explore possible solutions and the ongoing impact on the Australian public.