0735 GMT December 05, 2019
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the British Royal College of GPs, said loneliness and social isolation can be as bad for a person’s health as chronic diseases, theguardian.com reported.
She encouraged people to be ‘good citizens’ and connect with friends and neighbors in a ‘meaningful’ way.
“Any festival or gathering where people get together can extenuate or magnify feelings of being isolated or lonely,” she said.
“People usually are already vulnerable and also it’s darker, the whole Sad (seasonal affective disorder) thing about short days, amplify these things.
“As a GP, we see people in their communities, we are part of their communities, and we see the adverse impact these things have on people’s health — these are as bad as chronic diseases to your health.”
Stokes-Lampard continued: “Moments of meaningful connection is the language we use. Not just saying ‘hi’ or waving to the neighbor but actually saying ‘how are you doing, how are things going?’
“Having a little chat. Checking in on people in more than a trivial way. As a healthcare professional, we always feel like we spend our days doing good stuff, but this is about being a good citizen and part of society.
“In a world where we’ve got more connection by social media than ever before, we also hear and see other people are less connected with somebody that can hold your hand in a time of trouble.”
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released in April showed five percent of adults in England feel lonely often or always, with 16 percent saying they feel lonely some of the time.
Almost 25 percent said they occasionally felt lonely, while figures released earlier this month showed 14 percent of children aged 10-12 often feel lonely.
Among young people aged 16 to 24 across England, 9.8 percent reported often feeling lonely, the ONS said.
In January, British Prime Minister Theresa May described loneliness as a ‘sad reality of modern life’ for too many people, as she announced a range of measures including the appointment of a minister with a brief to lead the government’s response.