Loneliness is increasing in Australia, according to a national Lifeline survey released on Tuesday. The Loneliness Survey found that around 82.5 percent of Australians believe that society is becoming lonelier and 60 percent claim they often feel lonely.
The survey, which involved 3,100 participants, also showed that only 53.38 percent of them have someone to confide in while 33.65 percent do not. On the other hand, only 1.27 percent believe that loneliness is decreasing in society while around 16.9 percent are not sure if this is so.
These are worrying statistics, according to Pete Shmigel, Lifeline’s chief executive. Shmigel points out that loneliness and isolation have been linked with higher rates of suicide, which is currently at record levels in Australia.
“For a society that is more technologically connected than we have ever been, these results suggest we’re overlooking good old-fashioned care and compassion when it comes to our mental health and wellbeing,” adds Shmigel. “Furthermore, with about 70 per cent of survey respondents having never called Lifeline or a similar service, we as a community need to be more mindful of how the people in our lives are coping, and send a strong message that no person in crisis should have to be alone — help is available.”
Even the participants who live with a spouse or a partner shared the same feelings of loneliness, an occurrence that alarms Shmigel. It indicates that many people are not able or not willing to ask their loved ones for help.
Up to 44.14 percent partnered individuals believe that loneliness is increasing in society. By comparison, 77.61 percent of those who live alone often feel lonely but 60 percent of couples also claim to often feel lonely.
The study also took social media and technology into account. The results were inconclusive but the researchers found that over 31.64 percent feel lonelier when using social media while 29.58 percent do not.
Shmigel also suggest that we have become busier, which led to our feelings of loneliness. He also adds that relationships are inconvenient, which is not what society wants.
People tend to avoid human relationships to make life more convenient. Shmigel suggests that despite the conflict that may arise in relationships, we should not avoid it completely so we would not become lonely, as the survey shows.