ABC Radio Melbourne
Many of us have experienced the heaviness of loneliness, of missing family, friends and meaningful social connection, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Australian charity, Friends for Good, is providing an ear to those needing to reach out in a COVID-safe manner, with callers to the organisation’s FriendLine phone line able to chat with a friendly volunteer.
“At national charity Friends for Good we call loneliness the hidden suffering of the modern age,” said Friends for Good CEO and Co-Founder, Patricia Lauria.
“Experiences such as death of a spouse, social anxiety and low income have all been related to higher levels of loneliness” (Loneliness in Australia: Research, Context and New Findings. www.friendsforgood.org.au) and many seniors are currently experiencing one or all of these.
“It is natural to feel lonely sometimes as it is a reminder that we need more connections and to do something about it, but some seniors think that this should be tolerated and it is okay to feel invisible,” said Patricia.
Admitting to feeling lonely is not easy and many older Australians experience loneliness on a daily basis, yet may not mention it to anyone, she said.
Loneliness can also be related to many serious health conditions, so it is important to reach out and seek help to overcome this.
Friends for Good offers FriendLine, a free, anonymous chat with a friendly volunteer any day of the week.
“We have such lovely volunteers answering calls and this service is a great source of connection for seniors. Many regular callers are now feeling less lonely,” Patricia said.
“Wherever you are, if you are feeling lonely you can connect with a volunteer for a friendly chat 10am-8pm, 7 days a week through a local FriendLine office.”
Call for a chat:
Melbourne 03 9663 2740
Sydney 02 7226 1708
Adelaide 08 7078 6229
Brisbane 07 2103 3170
Perth 08 6118 0587
(Free call 1800 424 287)
Please note, FriendLine is not a crisis service. If you need urgent support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.