The Hidden Epidemic: Understanding Loneliness

Imagine a silent killer, not a disease, not a virus but a feeling. It’s loneliness, it’s a sense of unhappiness someone feels when they don’t have friends or someone to talk to.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized it as a global public health issue, showcasing the severity of a worldwide challenge that most of us underestimate, or often ignore.


  • Loneliness has been identified as a hidden epidemic.  Statistically speaking, at any given time loneliness affects 1 in every 4 people the world over, It makes no distinctions based on age, ethnicity, gender, or social status.

Risk of Loneliness

  • It increases our risk of premature death by an alarming (39 %) thirty-nine percent.  According to the WHO, in older adults, loneliness is associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia and a 30% increased risk of coronary artery disease or stroke.
  • The harmful effects of loneliness are as damaging as puffing away fifteen cigarettes each day, or as lethal as consuming six alcoholic drinks daily.  It’s a grim picture, isn’t it? Loneliness can have similar, if not worse, effects on our mental health. It can gradually strip away our mental resilience, leaving us vulnerable, diminishing our productivity, and impairing our overall quality of life.

Strategies and therapies for Combating Loneliness

  • So, what can we do about it? The answer is simple yet profound – social relationships. 
  • In this fast-paced world, with its constant stream of information and endless distractions, let’s not forget the power of human connection. The simple act of listening, of understanding, of being there for each other – it matters. It’s essential to our well-being.
  • Relationships are the strongest indicators of happiness in numerous studies. While family, friends, and colleagues have traditionally been considered an integral part of our social relationships, the last two decades have seen a shift in this perspective. 
  • Scientists, after extensive research, have found that ‘talking to strangers’ can greatly complement our ‘close relationships.’ Such interactions can lead to a greater sense of life satisfaction. 
  • Even a simple act of saying ‘good morning’ can transform lives, making us feel happier, mentally sharper, healthier, and more optimistic. 
  • It can make us feel more connected to the world Interestingly, it benefits both parties – those who initiate the conversation and those who participate in it. 

What is Govt doing about it 

  • Governments of some countries have recognized the importance of it. 
  • For example, a Swedish city has introduced the hello campaign,’ wherein people are encouraged to say hello to strangers, fostering a culture of connectedness. 
  • Similarly, countries like the UK, Ireland, and Australia have adopted a unique concept called the “chatty bench.” It’s a concept wherein a specially marked bench is placed in public spaces, facilitating conversations between strangers, and helping to build connections. 
  • In India, there is a unique tradition to welcome the stranger “Atithi Devo Bhava” as we believe that “No guest is lesser than God”-

Why do we avoid talking to strangers 

  • If talking to strangers is so pleasant and beneficial, why don’t we do it more often, The simple answer is, that we are always worried about 2 words “Stranger – Danger”. 
  • We have been conditioned with the mindset that “Interacting with strangers could put you at risk Children are taught, never to speak to unknown adults, 
  • Our mind is conditioned as we start considering Strangers as a “threat” 
  • Human beings by nature are trusting, Otherwise we would never invest in stocks, spend time in dating apps, or put money in banks, Though there have been adverse incidents, that’s not all, there is a beneficial side to it, We just need to trust your instincts and be cautious about sharing personal information. 


  • It’s high time we start acknowledging the toll loneliness takes on our mental and physical health. Though loneliness is deadly, it is also preventable. “We need to remember, that we are not alone. This is our daily reminder to check on your loved ones, a minute of your time could make a world of difference. Which goes against our social contract “Talking to strangers is not just good for us but it’s necessary”. Taking a leap of faith allows us to grow beyond a family unit. – let’s take a leap of faith and start a conservation.
  • Photo Credit: neurosciencenews, Photo by Tatiana Syrikova, Photo by Ron Lach

#loneliness #love #lonely #alone #sad #depression #sadness #life #poetry #mentalhealth #anxiety #feelings #nature #photography #pain #lonelyquotes #broken #brokenheart #isolation #solitude #thoughts #lovequotes #loveyourself #lonelinessquotes #mentalhealthawareness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *