Lifeline launches Loneliness Survey – are we more connected or lonelier than ever?
Lifeline Australia today launched the on-line Lifeline Loneliness Survey, which seeks to understand people’s feelings of loneliness in Australian society in the midst of our current national suicide emergency.
The six question survey will be available through the Lifeline website www.lifeline.org.au and on Lifeline’s social media channels.
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said: “Isolation and loneliness can be very significant risk factors in suicidality. Disconnection from family, friends and community can drive despair, particularly for those who may already be struggling – while connection is a key way to protect people from the risk of suicide.
“Indeed, thousands of Lifeline’s callers report that they are lonely and some 55% report that they live alone, and many call us for a real conversation with a caring human being. Therefore, in the lead-up to the wonderful initiatives of R U OK? Day and World Suicide Prevention Day which encourage real conversations, we want to ask the general public the simple questions ‘Do you feel lonely?’ and do you have people in your life that you can confide in?”
“It's been suggested that in a digital world - where according to R U OK? we physically spend an average of 46 hours of our weekly downtime looking at our TVs and digital devices– some of us can become even more lonely even though we may have hundreds of friends on social media. In part, we want to better understand whether digital relationships are positive substitutes for direct relationships with live humans,” Mr Shmigel said.
Suicide rates in Australia have recently risen with ABS statistics showing a 10-year-plus high with 2864 deaths in 2014, an increase of 13.5 percent from the previous year. This represents some 8 suicides per day with middle aged men being the most susceptible age and gender group, while suicide in indigenous and rural Australia is considerably higher than the average rate.
In the lead up to its eighth R U OK? Day on Thursday 8 September, R U OK? is urging all Australians to spend more time catching up with friends, chatting on the phone with family, or visiting elderly relatives.
The Lifeline Loneliness Survey is completely anonymous and open until the Friday 9th September. Lifeline are keen to share their findings with other mental health groups and the wider public to stimulate more discussion around the feelings of loneliness and isolation in Australia society – and how we can better address them.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.
For further information or comment, please contact [email protected] or 0408 407 376.