The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness recently revealed that millions of men in the UK (young and old) are experiencing loneliness, many of whom suffer in silence.
These are stark findings, but given the stigma attached to loneliness it’s likely there are many more men who are yet to voice their feelings.
The study also highlights the vulnerability of older men to loneliness, with a quarter of men aged 65-69 who have been lonely saying retirement had been a trigger and 18 per cent, the death of their spouse or partner.
We have long been providing support within local communities to help older men stay socially active. Whether it’s learning a new skill, practicing an old one or just keeping fit and talking, there are activities and groups run across the country to suit all tastes.
However, many men may be reluctant to accept they need support. And so for the next month, the Commission which is spearheaded by Seema Kennedy (Cons) and Rachel Reeves (Lab), will be putting male loneliness in the spotlight. Under the slogan ‘Start a Conversation, the Commission (of which we are one of thirteen partners), want to mobilise the public to help themselves and others around them and educate people on how they can become part of the solution.
From starting your own men’s activity, finding a group to join, offering to accompany a male friend, relative or neighbour to an activity or simply by making time to chat to those around you – we can all support each other and work together to tackle loneliness.
Visit www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk and www.jocoxloneliness.org for more information.
David McCullough, chief executive of Royal Voluntary Service and founder member of the Campaign to End Loneliness