Social Isolation and Loneliness Report
Key Takeaways from the Social Isolation and Loneliness in the UK Report
Loneliness and social isolation are complex conditions which have remained relatively under-researched until recently. Where research has been conducted, it has almost exclusively focused on the prevalence of the conditions on older demographics, and has largely ignored the development of the conditions amongst younger people.
However, both social isolation and loneliness are starting to receive increased attention from local authorities, health and social care providers and third-sector organisations due to growing evidence around the negative impacts they have on health and wellbeing. Research has shown that, in terms of negative health outcomes, lacking social connections is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and has worse health outcomes than risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. It has been calculated that loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% in older people.
This report aims to provide an overview of the social isolation and loneliness landscape in the UK, taking into account the factors that contribute to the development of the conditions, those who are commonly affected, the impacts of the conditions on individuals and public services, and the approaches and interventions that are currently used to address them. In particular, this report seeks to highlight the innovative uses of technology in addressing loneliness and isolation, as these are expected to act as key enablers in the future. Wherever possible, local and international best practice case-studies have been included to illustrate the progress being made in this domain. Finally, this document touches upon the challenges faced when trying to finance interventions aiming to combat social isolation and loneliness, and introduces an outcome-based financing model which could facilitate the delivery of more innovative solutions.