LONELINESS is one of the greatest public health risks today. One in every 10 older people suffers from chronic loneliness, and the problem is now also prevalent in young people, according to Sean Moynihan, chief executive of charity Alone.
The organisation has now set up a task force on loneliness with Senator Keith Swanick to increase awareness about the issue and to produce a set of recommendations for Government, state agencies and all policy makers.
The Loneliness Taskforce is made up of a range of people from the community and voluntary sector, nursing, sport, business, medicine, youth work, psychiatry.
They are calling on any individual, group or organisation to put forward ideas to input into a report.
Senator Swanick, who is a GP, added: “The decision to establish the Loneliness Taskforce arises from a passion to address the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.
“Every day of my professional life I meet people who are lonely and this loneliness can have a devastating impact on the mental and physical health of people, with corresponding challenges for public services to meet these demands.”
Others in the task force include Dr Brian Lawlor, a pyschiatrist at St James’s Hospital, and Professor John Hillery, President of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland.