Loneliness is being touted as the ‘silent epidemic’ of our time. In this digital age, when we’re more connected to our phone screens than we are to each other, it’s no surprise that most of us will feel the pangs of loneliness at some point in our lives – even if we are surrounded by people.
But apparently, there’s one group of society for whom feeling alone hits harder, and more often, than it does for the rest of us. According to a study, conducted as part of Spotlight on Men month, and launched by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, over a quarter of men aged 65-69 said they felt lonely because of retiring.
In the survey, which was completed by 1,200 men, it was found that men aged 35 are, on average, the most lonely, while 11% of men feel lonely on a daily basis. Plus, 35% revealed that their loneliness lead them to feeling depressed, and 9% admitted they had no regular friends to go out and socialise with.
Those who felt lonely credited certain reasons behind it – including, moving away from friends and family (18%), going through a breakup (17%), being unemployed (17%) and the death of a family member (17%).
And of course, men aren’t the only members of the older generation to feel this way. In a study by Beaumont in 2013, it was uncovered that a higher percentage of women than men admitted to feeling lonely ‘some of the time’ or ‘often’.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who co-chairs the commission, said, “Loneliness is a silent epidemic hidden inside every family and community in the UK and can affect any one of us and at any time.”
She continued, “For the next month, we will explore how and why men experience loneliness and, most importantly, shine a light on the practical steps that can be taken to combat it – for instance, if you or your loved ones are experiencing feelings of loneliness, get in touch with Mind, who can help.
Seema Kennedy, a Tory MP, who is also co-chair of the commission, added, “Today we are calling on the public, businesses and Government to consider what more could be done in their communities to tackle the problem – from starting their own men’s activity to simply making time to chat to those around them.”