Why is tackling social isolation and lonliness important?

In partnership with The European Commission
Why is tackling social isolation and lonliness important?
Copyright euronews
By Aurora VelezEuronews
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The coordinator of a European project running in several northern European countries explains to us what isolation and loneliness are and why it is important to overcome these situations.

Is suffering from isolation or loneliness the same thing? Not according to Elin Thygesen, who coordinates the European I2I project. This initiative, being carried out in seven northern European countries, including Norway, aims to combat these two facets of the same core problem. According to a recent study, more than a third of Europeans feel lonely.

"Isolation, social isolation is about the network. You have a lack of network," clarifies Elin Thygesen. "When we talk about loneliness, it's more of this emotional or subjective feeling of being lonely. So those are two different concepts. But they also go together."

A significant factor in health issues

"Loneliness is a factor in many health problems and mortality," revealed the University of Agder representative_. "These include diabetes, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other illnesses_," she adds.

I think, when you feel alone and are isolated, you will, in a way, make these illnesses worse and put yourself more at risk
Elin Thygesen
I2I coordinator, University of Agder, Norway

A multi-pronged approach

"We combine public and private sectors, volunteers, and companies to find solutions. So it's an excellent way of working and it's beneficial, especially because we are working with complex problems. Loneliness and isolation is a very complex problem. So it would help if you were more than one group working on the issues."

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