We all have a responsibility to help combat loneliness, says leading health professional

Everyone has a responsibility to help combat loneliness

The feeling of loneliness can have a physical effect on people

Thursday, April 21, 2016

We must all do more to tackle the issue of loneliness, talkRADIO has been told.

New research published by a journal for cardiology health professionals, 'Heart', has revealed not only is it a social problem, but loneliness has been linked to a 30% increase in heart disease and stroke risk, two of the leading causes of death in the UK.

Lucy Wilkinson, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, says there are quite simple ways in which we can all begin to tackle the problem.

"It's about reaching out to people," she said. "It could be as simple as saying hello when you are out on the street or having a chat when you see someone and realise they're on their own."

Loneliness can have an extremely detrimental effect, as feeling unwanted can contribute to making poor life decisions.

"If people are lonely they don't want to go out for a walk and they don't want to exercise," she added.

Not only can we all make a difference by caring for those who live alone, both young and old, Wilkinson also gave advice to those feeling isolated.

"You can go to your GP for help and advice, they are a wealth of knowledge and know exactly what's going on in the community," she said. "There are community groups, volunteering can help you develop social networks"