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U.K Appoints Minister Of Loneliness.

Byline: Hannah, Young Editor

There are many programs that exist for high school students today that help isolated teenagers cope with loneliness. For instance, "We Dine Together" is a program whose purpose is to assure that no teenager sits alone at lunchtime.

However, loneliness is not only an issue for teens but also an important and rarely acknowledged one in the elderly.

This week, the Prime Minister of Britain, Theresa May, has appointed Tracey Crouch to be the first Minister of Loneliness in order to address the issues caused by loneliness. This is the first time such a position has been created, and it is setting a precedent for other countries. German lawmakers are also considering measures to tackle the same problem.

Bringing Awareness To Isolation

Loneliness is rapidly growing across the world. In Britain, there are around 9 million people who report they are lonely frequently. Furthermore, most doctors in the country receive around 1 to 5 patients per day that come, not because they have a medical issue, but because they are simply lonely.

In Germany, a study conducted by Ruhr University Bochum found that 20 percent of people over the age of 85 felt lonely, and 14 percent of those between age 45 and 65 felt socially isolated.

In the United States, more than A1/4 of the population lives alone, more than A1/2 are unmarried. Compared to the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children in each household has declined. This trend shows that Americans are becoming less connected socially and can lead to loneliness.

These occurrences are a cause for concern as loneliness negatively affects one's health. Isolation is commonly associated with cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity, and anxiety. Additionally, the stress from loneliness can trigger your cells to change on a molecular level that inhibits its abilities to defend your body against diseases. In fact, doctors believe having feelings of loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day in regards to its impact on health!

What Is Being Done

In Britain, the new Minister of Loneliness will help establish government policies on the issue and help fund charities to devote their efforts towards aiding loneliness. There are charities that link lonely seniors to high school students in order to give them a line of communication for whenever they feel depressed.

Germany has also established similar hotlines, with ones available for the holidays, in order to encourage elders to interact more with their community. Many elders have said they were more motivated to join community clubs and form friendships after the hotline.

The possibilities for the new minister of loneliness are endless. For example, she can provide education services to plumbing and other household businesses so that they can identify lonely customers if they see one. Loneliness fits into the category of being a social issue that must be monitored by the entire community in order to help those in need. Hence, government involvement in medical services and care for seniors and others is essential for happy seniors!

Do you volunteer with organizations that help the elderly? If so, share your story!

Sources: New York Times, Deutsche Welle, City Lab, Smithsonian Magazine, Live Science, NPR, The Guardian

Critical thinking: What are some ways we can help the elderly in our society so that they don't feel lonely?
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Title Annotation:Society/Arts; Tracey Crouch
Publication:Youngzine
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 25, 2018
Words:625
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