Do we need a Minister for Loneliness? Yes – to keep us all living longer
The UK has just appointed Tracey Crouch as its first Minister for Loneliness following a 2016 recommendation.
It sounds strange, but consider this. Loneliness has been linked to a range of health conditions including dementia, high blood pressure and early death.
Despite this, governments tend to spend up big on health services rather than social services.
Check out this clip here. It’s from a new TED Talk titled ‘The secret to living longer may be your social life’.
Surprisingly, it found social integration – how much you interact with people throughout the day – is the top predictor for a long, healthy life.
This was followed by close relationships with family and friends.
Keep your friends – and community – close
Both were well ahead of the next two entries – quitting smoking and drinking – which most of us would consider more harmful.
There are a number of programs working to combat social isolation here, including the Federal Government’s Community Visitors Scheme (CVS), but they have a relatively low public profile. More funding – and their own Minister – could make a big difference.
Rethinking our own behaviour can’t hurt either. Why not have a chat with that neighbour you always walk past or calling a relative that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Maybe it could save your life.
Watch the full TED talk here.