ABC Radio Melbourne
Friends for Good, an advocate for combating loneliness in Australia, proudly announces the launch of the Australian Loneliness Research Foundation. This initiative aims to revolutionise the understanding of loneliness by fostering collaboration among community organisations, researchers, and individuals with lived experiences.
“We are delighted to be creating an organisation that will bring together community organisations, researchers and people with lived experience to conduct Australian first research and build awareness about loneliness,” said Friends for Good Chairperson, Emmanuel Hart.
As a trailblazer in loneliness research, Friends for Good has already uncovered crucial insights. Their pioneering studies have revealed the pervasive stigma surrounding loneliness, with a notable correlation between income levels and its prevalence.
Having strategic partnerships with leading universities and scholars, the Foundation is committed to amplifying the voices of those grappling with chronic loneliness. By leveraging insights from daily interactions with affected individuals, Friends for Good aims to drive impactful research and raise awareness on a national scale.
"We invite collaborators to join us in addressing this pressing public health concern, strengthening the evidence base, and empowering individuals to seek meaningful connections," Hart states.
By launching the Australian Loneliness Research Foundation, Friends for Good reaffirms its commitment to tackling loneliness comprehensively, from research and advocacy to community engagement and support. Through this initiative, they aim to catalyse positive change and create a more connected and resilient society.
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- Prevalence of Loneliness: Loneliness is a pervasive issue globally, with significant implications for mental and physical health. The World Health Organisation has established a Commission on Social Connection. In Australia, recent studies have indicated alarming levels of loneliness, highlighting its status as a pressing public health concern1.
- Statistics on Loneliness: An astonishing nine in 10 Australians have experienced loneliness at some point in their lives, but only 38% have chosen to take action and talk to someone. On top of this, new research reveals 87% of people would find it difficult to talk about loneliness2.
- Impact of Loneliness: Loneliness is not merely a transient emotional state; it poses serious health risks. Studies in the United States have linked prolonged loneliness to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, and even premature mortality. Moreover, loneliness can exacerbate existing mental health conditions and hinder social functioning3.
- Friends for Good's Mission: Friends for Good is a pioneering charitable organisation dedicated to combating loneliness and fostering social connections across Australia. Through various initiatives and programs, Friends for Good endeavours to create a more inclusive and supportive community where individuals feel connected.
- Research Initiatives: Friends for Good is at the forefront of loneliness research in Australia. Their ground-breaking studies have shed light on the prevalence of loneliness, its impact on different demographic groups, and the underlying factors contributing to its persistence. By partnering with leading researchers and universities, Friends for Good seeks to deepen the understanding of loneliness and raise awareness.
- Community Engagement: In addition to research, Friends for Good actively engages with communities to promote social inclusion. Through workshops, services, education and wellbeing programs, they provide resources and support to individuals struggling with loneliness, empowering them to seek help and build meaningful connections.
- Advocacy Efforts: Friends for Good advocates for policy changes and societal initiatives aimed at addressing loneliness on a systemic level. Friends for Good chairs the Friendship Alliance and collaborates with a broad range of stakeholders. They strive to integrate loneliness prevention and support services into public health strategies and community programs.