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UK appoints 'Minister for loneliness'

Jan 18, 2018 12:23 IST
Tracy Crouch

The Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Theresa May on 17 January 2018 announced the appointment of Sports minister Tracey Crouch as the country’s first ‘Minister for loneliness’.

The move has been made to tackle the isolation felt by more than one in ten people in the UK. In her additional role, Tracey Crouch would be required to develop a strategy to address loneliness in the nation.

Speaking on the development, May said that for far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life. “I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones — people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” she added.

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Background

• According to research, Britain has in fact, a serious problem with loneliness.

• The government data reveals that a majority of people over the age of 75 live alone and about 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.

• Research has linked loneliness with dementia, early mortality and high blood pressure.

• According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, a network tackling the health threat isolation poses to the elderly, most doctors in Britain see at least 1-5 patients a day, who come mainly because they are lonely.

• The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, in its 2017 report, revealed that more than nine million people in the country often or always feel lonely.

 UK appoints Minister for loneliness

Jo Cox legacy

• The Commission on Loneliness was set up by Jo Cox, a 41-year-old Labour Party lawmaker, shortly before she was shot dead by a right-wing extremist in 2016.

• Cox had served in the Parliament for a little more than a year and had been a prominent advocate in the house on the issue of loneliness.

• She had set up the cross-party commission with the aim of initiating a national conversation and establishing the scale and impact of loneliness in the nation.

• The commission had called for the appointment of a Minister to lead action on the issue.

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