Loneliness and social isolation are key challenges to wellbeing. As improving wellbeing continues to be a priority for Welsh policy and public services, tackling loneliness and social isolation will continue to be on the agenda at both the national and local level.
The Wales Centre for Public Policy is working to bring local public service providers, from local government and the third sector, together with academics from across the UK (and beyond) to share knowledge and experience, discuss local issues and challenges, understand the impact and consider how to mitigate and prevent loneliness and social isolation.
Loneliness and social isolation affect many different people and compromise wellbeing across the life course. The National Survey for Wales shows that younger people and those materially deprived report higher levels of loneliness and social isolation and suggests some relationship between loneliness and where you live. Beyond this data, a growing evidence-base from research and practice is shedding new light on the causes of loneliness and social isolation, how it is experienced and how it can be overcome.
The ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and current UK lockdown means that issues of loneliness and social isolation are more pressing and likely to become more widespread than ever before in the coming months. Furthermore, conventional approaches to tackling loneliness and social isolation are challenged by the social distancing measures in place across the UK; creating a need to look at the opportunities and challenges associated with the role technology can play in connecting people and communities.
You can listen to our podcast on loneliness in the lockdown below. In this special lockdown version of PEP Talk, Dr Hannah Durrant talks to Julie Barnett (Professor of Health Psychology, University of Bath) about loneliness and social isolation during the Coronavirus lockdown, and the role of technology in alleviating those experiences.