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  • Writer's pictureMartin Blake

CONNECTIONS MATTER: A REPORT ON THE IMPACTS OF LONELINESS IN AUSTRALIA

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Connections Matter, a global research report by KPMG Australia in collaboration with the Groundswell Foundation, has revealed the prevalence of loneliness in Australia, the significance of its impact on all areas of the community and outlines actions for both prevention and treatment of loneliness in Australia.


Key Information:

  • Connections Matter, a global research report by KPMG Australia in collaboration with the Groundswell Foundation, has revealed the prevalence of loneliness across Australia.

  • Loneliness is experienced by more than one quarter of Australians and most Australians will experience loneliness in their lifetime: 37% of young people are lonely.

  • Loneliness is a silent killer: Lonely people have a 26% increased risk of death.

  • The impacts of loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes or having six alcoholic drinks per day.

  • 54% are of people are lonelier after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the full report here:

Groundswell Foundation_Loneliness Literature Review Draft v12
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.77MB

 

Loneliness — in a world of always-on social media and digital connectedness, it seems

almost inconceivable that loneliness could become a health crisis affecting one in

four Australians. It’s a health priority that has been almost entirely overlooked by

health regulators and providers in Australia. And it’s one that has been exacerbated by

the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Loneliness impacts over five million Australians and is a significant risk factor for poor physical health, mental health problems and decreased quality of life.


Connections Matter, a global research report by KPMG Australia in collaboration with the Groundswell Foundation, has revealed the prevalence of loneliness in Australia, the significance of its impact on all areas of the community and outlines actions for both prevention and treatment of loneliness in Australia.


Loneliness can affect anyone. However, there are some groups that are more susceptible than others. Young adults are at particularly high risk, with 37–50% of people aged 18–24 reported to be lonely. Parents, particularly single parents, older people and people who live alone are also more impacted. It is also an issue among minority groups. First Nations people, those who identify as LGBTQIA+ and migrants experience higher levels of loneliness compared to national averages.


The Connections Matter report highlights the significant economic impacts of loneliness, with an annual healthcare cost to the Australian economy of $2.7 billion, or approximately $1565 per person per year. Mental health issues closely related to loneliness, including depression, are estimated to cost the economy up to $60 billion annually.


KPMG Mental Health Advisory Lead Andrew Dempster said:


"Loneliness is a public health issue that many Australians identify with. However, it’s at risk of being trivialised because its impacts remain widely unrecognised. This report highlights evidence that confirms that loneliness is detrimental to physical and mental health and has profound socio-economic impacts."

The Way Forward:

Given the economic and health impacts of loneliness, the Connections Matter report recommends three critical actions:


1. Collaborate: Establish clear policy directions across national, state and local levels to raise awareness of loneliness as a priority issue and take targeted action.

2. Communicate: Activate stakeholders from public, private and not-for-profit organisations to embed loneliness as a priority issue into new and existing health and wellbeing initiatives.

3. Track progress: Build the evidence base for loneliness and interventions in Australia through dedicated data collection, research and evaluation.


Download the full report here:

Groundswell Foundation_Loneliness Literature Review Draft v12
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.77MB


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