More than nine million people in the United Kingdom say that their lives are marked by loneliness, with many reporting that days or even weeks can go by without any social interaction. Many of these individuals are elderly and living alone, adrift from a dwindling number of family members and friends. Research has shown that loneliness increases your chances of getting sick, and a 2015 study found that loneliness was linked to premature death. In January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a new “minister for loneliness” to identify ways to reconnect with this segment of the British population.
"Ah, look at all the lonely people":
- Tracey Crouch, whose official title is Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will devise a national strategy to tackle social isolation, and find ways to quantify alienation and its causes.
- Loneliness has been known to trigger cellular responses that reduce the body’s ability to fight off viruses, and has been linked to a 26 percent increase in the likelihood of premature death.
- In the United States, approximately 42.6 million adults over the age of 45 admitted to experiencing chronic loneliness in a 2010 study conducted by AARP.