Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM says “Loneliness is a public health risk and we must tackle it.
“Action needs to be taken to tackle loneliness and social isolation, which already impacts 1 in 5 people in Wales and is fast becoming a significant public health issue”
The AM made the comments ahead of the Welsh Government launching a national conversation on what can be done to combat loneliness and social isolation in Wales.
The National Survey for Wales 2016-17 found that 17% of the population of Wales, around 440,000 people, reported being lonely, while younger people were more likely to be lonely than older people: 20% of 16-24 year olds were lonely, compared with 10% of those aged 75 or over.
Loneliness and social isolation can result in a number of physical and psychological problems including premature death, sleep problems, high blood pressure, poor quality of life, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, depression and suicide. Research demonstrates that loneliness has an effect on mortality that is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Mrs Evans added: “Loneliness and isolation is a health problem that affects residents across Gower affecting different groups of people at a variety of stages of life.
“Thanks to Swansea Council, we are fortunate to have a team of excellent Local Area Coordinators who do wonderful work in helping people make meaningful connections in their lives - but this is not an issue that one organisation will solve. That is why I support this national conversation and would ask everyone to take part.”
You can take part here https://beta.gov.wales/connected-communities-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation