Australians regularly feel lonely according to new Telstra report
Telstra today called on Australians to start a conversation about loneliness after its Talking Loneliness report revealed that 44 per cent of Australians regularly felt lonely, and nine in ten have experienced loneliness, with half (48 per cent) too embarrassed to admit it.
The research was conducted for Telstra by YouGov in September in consultation with leading loneliness researcher and clinical psychologist Dr. Michelle Lim.
It highlights the growing issue of widespread loneliness in Australia and explores its impact on individuals, communities, and society at large.
Dr. Lim said loneliness is the next public health crisis facing Australia.
“Loneliness, when persistent or severe, hurts our health, communities, and society. We need to work together as a community to combat loneliness,” Dr Lim added.
“If you feel lonely, it is important to understand that your feelings are normal. Take small feasible steps towards managing your loneliness.
“You don’t always have to make more friends to be feel less lonely – look within your current network and consider how you can improve the quality of those relationships,” Telstra CEO, Andrew Penn said while it was a significant societal issue beforehand, more than a quarter (27 per cent) of Australians experienced loneliness for the first time during COVID.
“We know the pandemic has had a significant impact on mental health but now we also know how it has accelerated the widespread issue of loneliness,” Penn said.
“Telstra has been connecting people for more than 100 years and today everyone and everything is connected. Despite this there are so many people in the community who feel disconnected. As a company with connectivity at the heart of our purpose, we are shining a light on loneliness and its impact.
“Sadly, there are many people in our community who are reluctant to speak up about something that is having significant consequences – it could be your brother, neighbour or workmate and you may never know.
“That’s why we wanted to challenge the preconceptions about who might be lonely and to encourage Australians to find a sense of connection through their shared experience,” Penn said.
“This report with its call to action for Australians to start talking about loneliness is one way we can bring focus to this growing issue so that we emerge from COVID and the pandemic fatigue stronger as a nation and individually,” Penn said.
To support this worthy cause, Telstra is also releasing a series of videos highlighting real stories from nine Australians impacted by loneliness, as well as a dedicated hub with resources and support tools.
“We are also donating more than 100,000 hours (about 11 and a half years) to help address loneliness in the community, with our employees incentivised to use their annual day of paid volunteer leave to contribute to eradicating loneliness through third-party specialist programs.
“This is a practical way that Telstra can contribute to being part of the solution as well as supporting our team across the country to play their own part,” said Penn.
The Talking Loneliness report also found:
- More than half (54per cent) of Australians say they ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ lack companionship.
- A quarter (24per cent) of Australians do not feel they have anyone to talk to with Gen Z (32 per cent) and Millennials (26 per cent) the age groups to feel this way.
- Over a third (35per cent) of Australians admit they rarely or never feel like they are part of a group of friends.
- Two in five (38 per cent) Australians say they have never felt lonelier than they have felt in lockdown.