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Over recent times we have built cities that lead to isolation, expected people to take responsibility for themselves and created communities where people find it hard to make genuine human connections. Patricia Lauria, Chairperson of the charity Friends for Good, the first of its kind in Australia to work solely on this issue, has said that “loneliness is a hidden suffering of our modern age. Although Australia lacks sufficient longitudinal research about the impacts of loneliness there is evidence all around us”. Friends for Good has started asking people about their experiences.

“Our Time We Talked survey has started scratching the surface of this difficult issue” Patricia outlined. The survey has found from 514 respondents that 23% feel lonely right now and 75% believe it is hard to talk about. “This problem is compounded by the stigma that surrounds it, we need to make it ok for people to talk about and look for the connections they need” she said. Without this, many studies have shown that people are at greater risk of heart disease, depression, anxiety and even earlier death. According to the Friends for Good leader “we can’t ignore the warning signs, we need to take action”.

The charity has already collected research from around the world that people can access to find out about loneliness on their website: created a platform for people to speak anonymously about loneliness and actively reaches out on social media. Now the group are launching Friend Line, a new telephone service for people to chat to one another and hopefully prevent or alleviate the loneliness many people feel.

“This is a complex problem and one that needs many responses – research, education and specific services, we are calling on government and the community to work together on this issue,” according to the charity head, “as the name of our survey suggests it’s Time We Talked about loneliness”.

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