Loneliness “just as damaging as poverty and poor housing”

Jake Stimpson/Flickr

Jake Stimpson/Flickr

A report released today by the Scottish Parliament highlighted the risks of isolation for people living in Scotland.

The report, released today by the Equal Opportunities Committee, made recommendations to the Scottish Government to prioritise loneliness and isolation alongside issues such as poverty and poor housing as part of the public health agenda in Scotland.

In addition they recommended that the Scottish Government adopt a national social isolation strategy to tackle to the issue and to produce a nationwide publicity campaign to raise awareness and help reduce shame and stigma often associated with ‘admitting to loneliness.

The study conducted earlier this year investigated the extent and impact of living in isolation on younger and older people .

Alison Love of the Royal Voluntary Service told the Committee of older people supported by the organisation presenting to the GPs every Monday because ‘they have no-one else for company’.

While Natalie McFadyen White of community charity Impact Arts described a member who, “prior to coming to us, would just sit on the bus all day and travel around the city, because that was all he had to do with his day and it was free with his bus pass.”

Margaret McCulloch MSP, Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee said,

“The report highlights the stigma people currently face, and how difficult it is to admit to loneliness. Whatever your age, it is unacceptable to feel you cannot  seek help. The health impact in Scotland is too great.  But currently a lack of awareness of the impact of isolation allows it to be ignored.”

See more at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_EqualOpportunitiesCommittee/Reports/EOS042015R05.pdf

 

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