The Challenges of Loneliness
A substantial proportion of people worldwide, from young adults to seniors, experience problematic levels of loneliness, including social, emotional and physical loneliness. Loneliness impacts people`s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as their ability to fully participate in political, social and economic life. The experience of loneliness is prevalent in all parts of societies, among people from all socio-economic backgrounds, ages, and genders. Socially excluded and marginalised groups experience higher levels of loneliness, further exacerbating existing societal inequalities. For example, shocks, forced displacement, war, migration, and poverty all have profound links with loneliness and the negative effects of loneliness. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, shocks and crises can increase the number of people experiencing some form of loneliness, especially among vulnerable groups, but the issue is prevalent in all parts of the world and societies.
Furthermore, loneliness is linked to many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Therefore, addressing loneliness is crucial in order to achieve the SDGs.