Loneliness and social isolation can be as bad for patients as chronic health conditions.
Loneliness puts people at a 50% increased risk of an early death compared to those with good social connections, and it is as bad for health outcomes as obesity. According to the Royal College of General Practitioners’ (RCGP) a national public campaign is needed to raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation across society, and encourage everyone to get involved in combatting this ‘public health epidemic.’
The call is one of several in Tackling Loneliness: A Community Action Plan, which argues that a widespread campaign is essential to educating the public, and should also encourage people to talk to their neighbours and get involved in, or start local initiatives in a bid to build and strengthen social connections throughout communities.
The action plan has come out of the College’s first-ever roundtable on loneliness; an event which saw charities, and community, voluntary and faith organisations come together to discuss how communities, including GPs, can tackle loneliness and social isolation in society.
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