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Community forum: ‘Ending Loneliness in the City of Sydney’

Despite its silent nature, the loneliness pandemic is real and it’s here.

That’s why a number of pivotal organisations are banding together to discuss how we can end loneliness in our city.

The Ending Loneliness in the City of Sydney Community Forum is on at Sydney Town Hall at 6pm on June 8, 2023.

It will bring together local residents, organisations, researchers, policy makers and groups impacted by loneliness to discuss the dimensions of the pandemic and strategies to address it.

Most Australians will experience loneliness at some point in their lives (Relationships Australia 2018). And in surveys undertaken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, just over half (54 per cent) of respondents reported that they felt more lonely since the start of the pandemic (Lim et al. 2020).

“The words ‘I feel lonely’ have become taboo,” said Marika Kontellis, Executive Officer for the regional social development organisation Inner Sydney Voice. “Self-disclosures of loneliness are unlikely because a person is embarrassed, self-blaming and sometimes unsure that what they are actually experiencing is loneliness. But every day we are seeing the impact of this silent pandemic.”

Ms Kontellis said loneliness is really bad for your health and a cause of early death.

She also cited a 2017 report (Brigham Young University, Utah, USA) which demonstrated that loneliness:
• is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day;
• is worse for a person’s health than obesity;
• increases the risk of early death by up to 32 per cent.

Deputy Mayor of the City of Sydney, Sylvie Ellsmore, is also concerned about rising number of people feeling so isolated.

“I have been hearing from the community that loneliness is a growing issue, especially post COVID. Students, young people, older people and people on low income are some of those who experience loneliness most in the inner city.

“Councils have an important role to play supporting community led solutions, and making sure our public spaces and community centres are bringing people together to overcome social isolation and loneliness.”

Inner Sydney Voice is partnering with other key organisations like the Wayside Chapel and the City of Sydney to host the forum to discuss how to end loneliness in our city.

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For more information contact Marika Kontellis on 0409 076 708.

 

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