The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared loneliness as a pressing global health threat.
The WHO also launched an international commission on the problem, led by the US surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy. The commission will run for three years.
Dr Murthy said that the mortality effects of loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. He said the rate of ‘one in four’ older people experiencing social isolation is similar in all regions of the world.
It comes after the Covid-19 pandemic halted economic and social activity, increasing levels of loneliness, but also amid rising awareness of the importance of the issue.