In conveRSAtion about Loneliness

Join Dr Michelle Lim and the RSA Melbourne Network as we explore the hidden crisis of loneliness, how it affects us, and what we as a society can do to address this issue.

Modern technology has fundamentally altered the way we interact with each other, giving us the ability to communicate with friends and loved ones instantly, anywhere in the world. Yet, despite our increasing digital connectedness, 8 out of 10 Australians believe that loneliness is on the rise and more people than ever are living, working and dying alone.

Recent studies reveal that 10 percent of Australian adults identify as feeling chronically lonely, with a further 17 per cent feeling socially isolated most of the time. Experts predict that loneliness, if not adequately addressed, will reach epidemic proportions across the Western world by 2030.

As the recent appointment of Britain’s first Minister for Loneliness demonstrates, loneliness has become a public health crisis. Recent studies support this: lack of social connection has been found to be as bad for one’s health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day and poses a greater risk of premature death than obesity. Loneliness can quite literally kill you.

In this timely conversation with Dr Michelle Lim, we look at why loneliness is one of the greatest challenges we face as a society, and why it requires a fundamentally human response.

Dr Michelle Lim is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at Swinburne University and leads the Social Health and Wellbeing (SHAW) Laboratory. Widely recognised as Australia’s foremost expert on the topic of loneliness, Dr Lim was recently appointed chair of the scientific advisory committee for the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness (ACEL), which guides Australian not-for-profit organisations and government agencies to deliver evidence-based community messaging and interventions in loneliness. 

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7 thoughts on “In conveRSAtion about Loneliness

  1. Thank you for making this possible Kate. For those who cannot be in Melbourne at this time, will the talk be recorded? Or will there be a way to watch online? Many thanks Janet


  2. Such a crucial and important topic. Thank you for communicating always how humanity is losing sight of itself.
    Lack of social interaction, loneliness, reduced human contact and 1:1 communication causes a person to socially isolate themselves, withdraw into themselves and causes rapid decline and deterioration. It’s a killer of the soul. Lack of human contact affects a persons sense of self worth and this leads to internal despair. These all then exacerbate depression and associated complications because a person feels unloved. This creates a rapid spiral into decline, deterioration and death. We define ourselves by those we have in our lives. Let us never allow any person to lose who they are, but instead support each other through this journey. Sharing the experience enhances it for us all. No person deserves to be sentenced to a lone journey. Reach out………..
    May I shamelessly plug my latest paper on thia very topic please Kate??
    “Loneliness is the ultimate poverty”


    • Dumping people with dementia under the #BPSD label causes it too. This truly harmful paradigm increases stigma and as you and a growing group of others also believe, ensures worse care and physical and chemical restraint! #BanBPSD campaign: here we come!


      • Without a doubt. It is the crux of all evil and must cease. It’s time for #BanBPSD and #BanStigmaAndStereotype #EmbraceLifeLivingWithDementia #HonourAllHumanity and #DefyLonelinessSocialIsolationAndDiscriminarion

        The big guns are out babe, and we are not going to tolerate this attitude any longer.


      • Even in a crowd, it is possible to be lonely. I find I am less lonely home alone, than when I am with people, especially those who too often only talk about themselves, or defame others.


      • Too true my friend. Self indulgence, and narcissistic attitudes are definitely a concerning factor of society these days. Besides the fact that this hedonistic self involvement makes others feel isolated, its the total lack of interest in anything but self.
        As you say, and I describe in my paper, we can be surrounded by people, yet feel lonelier than ever before. There is nothing worse than being physically there but treated as if you are invisible.


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