long-term health conditions
Community and relationships help develop our identity and cope better with life.
(Big Lunch) Loneliness and social isolation are felt by the most vulnerable in our society, which has damaging consequences to our community's health and wellbeing.
6% of Londoners feel lonely often or always and 16-34-year-olds feel more lonely than older adults.
People with LTHCs are acutely vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness, which worsens their health condition. Loneliness has been equated to the impact of 15 cigarettes a day and can compound chronic disease onset and progression.
Humans are social beings. We are members of families, sporting teams, hobbyists, spiritual groups, charities, political parties, cities, countries, and nationalities, to name a few. Nearly every aspect of our lives is organized around belonging to something.
We cannot separate the importance of a sense of belonging from our physical and mental health. For example, people who do not strongly feel they belong to their neighbourhood or have little trust in their neighbours are at greater risk of loneliness than other groups.
Loneliness is both a cause, multiplier, and effect of chronic disease. Community connection is the only way to resolve isolation on a mass scale as shown by the community response to COVID-19 lockdown.
Disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year.
Years of austerity to health and social care services mean that GPs are seeing patients with stress or depression related to isolation, food poverty, or benefits issues. Aspects of life the doctor can not help with – but the community can. 3/4 GPs say they see between 1 and 5 people a day who have come in mainly because they are lonely, and 1/10 see between 6 and 10 such patients daily.
Resources to address these concerns exist in the community, but many who need these services do not know where to look. We connect you to your community so you can find the resources local to you which are going to help you manage your health and wellbeing:
Sharing positive stories of recovery and connection
Share information on grassroots organisations that can support you
Support community organisations so they can have the tools to better help you and influence policy changes to transform the health & social care sector.