The Loneliness Taskforce was established by Dr. Keith Swanick in collaboration with Seán Moynihan of ALONE to coordinate a response to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation in Ireland. The Loneliness Taskforce is seeking to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.
It is known that loneliness and social isolation are some of the greatest public health risks of today. While much of the research focuses on loneliness in the elderly, loneliness is now as prevalent in the young as it is in the elderly, it just manifests itself differently.
Some of the things to consider about loneliness and social isolation
- 1 in 3 older people live on alone and research shows that loneliness can decrease life expectancy by up to 10 years
- Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health and are worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity
- In the UK, research in 2014 showed that 40% of all older people say the television is their main company
Loneliness never discriminates between young and old, rich and poor or urban and rural and that is why more needs to be done to tackle the scourge of loneliness and social isolation.
Through the Loneliness Taskforce we will produce a report on what is needed to tackle the epidemic of loneliness across the island of Ireland. The Taskforce includes a range of people from the community and voluntary sector, nursing, sport, business, medicine, youth work, psychiatry and NGOs.
The Loneliness Taskforce would like to hear your suggestions or proposals, to incorporate them into the report that will be published in the coming months. We are asking for suggestions to be broken down into three categories:
- Short term proposals (that can be introduced immediately)
- Medium term proposals (that may require a longer lead in period)
- Long term proposals (that may require long term planning or significant changes)
Submissions or suggestions to the Loneliness Taskforce can be made via this website.
Dr. Keith Swanick – Chairperson of the Loneliness Taskforce