Result Statement: ‘Seeing more towards each other’

โ€œ Loneliness is a growing problem and is more common than you think,โ€ says a participant in the Theorem of the Day. The majority of respondents believe that the level of loneliness is underestimated. โ€œNot only now in coronatijd.โ€

This week, in the Week Against Loneliness, there is extra attention to the theme, which most respondents can only applaud. Such a campaign can raise awareness, they think. โ€œBecause,โ€ says a participant, โ€œloneliness is difficult to recognize. People often do not say it and just seem socially active. Loneliness occurs in all walks of life and has no age.โ€

According to data from the Centraal Bureau of Statistics, one in ten Dutch felt lonely in 2019. Respondents think that the coronameasures have only increased feelings of loneliness as people are more tied to their homes.

Forty percent of the participants say they feel lonely now more often than before the coronacrisis. โ€œThe little social contact I feel better and better. Spontaneously drinking a cup of coffee with someone, just for the conviviality to the center, chat with acquaintances etc., thats not there anymore. My world has become very small.โ€ Another, 62 years old, sits at home with late consequences of cancer and sees home care once a week. โ€œNo further social contacts. Is this my life now?โ€

More than two-thirds of the participants feel that the Cabinet has too little regard for the social consequences of corona. One respondent says: โ€œDuring the intelligent lockdown in April, I saw how much loneliness cut into my parents because they suddenly had nothing or were allowed to do anything. It became clear that in the psychological field they took off a decent jacket! We were not allowed to see our (grand) children directly anymore. To be desperate of. Now the same thing threatens to happen.โ€

Virtually all respondents think that loneliness affects health. โ€œIt helps depression, anxiety and despondency and can manifest itself in a whole range of physical complaints.โ€

The municipality of Rotterdam, in collaboration with PostNL, started a trial in which postal deliverers can report when they encounter loneliness on their round. Although most consider it a good initiative, criticism also sounds. โ€œIn the past, the milkman, baker at the door or the neighbor did what the postman, who has no time, should do now,โ€ writes someone. Another one, which is just not lonely: โ€œI dont have to think that the postman is sending rescuers to my roof. Ill decide if I want help.โ€

Many believe that the increasing loneliness is the result of the individualization of society. โ€œPeople often live in their own bubble. They dont have time to talk and live in the sham world of social media.โ€ A solution is difficult, respondents recognize. โ€œReviewing each other, but that phone call, giving each other a helping hand if necessary, might help a little,โ€ says one. But those who are lonely can often do something about it themselves, others find. โ€œGo out, talk to your neighbors, join a club, dont sit inside waiting for someone else to come and fix it.โ€