Deadline 20th July
The Government’s Loneliness Strategy will be its first step in tackling the long-term challenge of loneliness. Loneliness is a complex issue that affects many different groups of people, and its evidence base is still developing.
Their approach is to focus the Strategy where they have the clearest opportunity for government action and further learning. Alongside this they will also be working with partners to explore how to improve the evidence base, to inform future government policy.
Loneliness can be defined as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship. It happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want.
The current evidence base tends to measure loneliness in terms of frequency, and it shows that people who feel lonely most or all of the time are more likely to suffer ill health and to generate significant costs for society
In general, an approach that prevents harm or takes action early on is more effective than one that acts once people have suffered harm. Specifically on loneliness, people who feel lonely more often can become more sensitive to perceived threats and withdraw further, creating a vicious cycle. So we are interested in approaches that reduce the risk, prevent loneliness or that intervene early, before loneliness becomes entrenched.
Based on this, Government have decided that the Strategy should focus on what government can do to reduce the risk of people feeling lonely most or all of the time.