on air now

Loneliness is more harmful than smoking, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Article image for Loneliness is more harmful than smoking, so why aren’t we talking about it?

Australians are well known for being good mates, it’s ingrained in our culture.

But recent studies have found we’re lonelier than ever and it’s more dangerous to our health than smoking.

Nearly one in 10 of us are taking anti-depressant medication and Ben Fordham is asking the question: why are we more disconnected than ever?

“We hear a lot about smoking, we hear a lot about obesity. How much do we hear about loneliness?”

Journalist and author of the Friendship Cure, Kate Leaver, tells Ben it’s easy to blame technology but that’s not where the story ends.

“There are plenty of studies that link loneliness to social media use, but even the researchers on those studies can’t tell whether the loneliness comes first or the social media.

“So, do we feel lonely and we go on Instagram? Or does the act of being on Facebook and not having that real face-to-face connection make us feel more isolated?”

Kate, who once worked for Ross Greenwood’s Money News program, moved to England five years ago and it made her “hyperaware” of how important friendship is in combatting loneliness.

She says the “loneliness epidemic” we’re seeing is a result of “structural” issues in our society.

“In our modern times, we’re living more disparate lives (and) we’re more likely to move away from the people who would usually form our social network.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview