“I don’t invite people to my home, and when they come unexpectedly, I just offer them cold tea without snacks so that they won’t come again. When I am sad, I feel like calling someone and crying out loud but I don’t know why this scares me. I am lonely but I can’t tell anyone.”
No, this is not a script – this is how we feel sometimes. Loneliness has become a phenomenon that exists parallelly with life. You can be with someone all the time but still not feel like you are actually with them. You are filled with feelings of guilt and immense insecurity about yourself. This is the modern world, where we are allowed to have two lives, one virtual and another real. But in spite of being more socially connected, people are moving away from each other.
In the modern world, where we seek the approval of strangers while uploading a picture on social media, people have become conscious of everything they do. Instead of doing what they like, they do what others like. Usually, when they fail at this, it leads to isolation. This isolation – call it a disorder or a disease – eats up a person from the inside. It triggers anti-social behavior, social isolation, and depression. People with these symptoms are usually excluded from the society.
To tackle this issue of loneliness, the UK has come up with a great idea of appointing a minister dedicated to helping such people. Tracey Crouch has taken up a pledge to help lonely people. It is estimated that around nine million people in the UK suffer from loneliness.
According to a report by the World Health Organization in 2015, 4.5% of the total population in India suffered from depressive disorders. According to a report by the National Sample Survey Office, 4.91 million people in India were living alone and suffered from loneliness in 2004.
The UK has definitely taken a firm step, fulfilling the dream of Jo Cox, who had initiated the idea of helping lonely people. It has raised the question whether the UK is the only country which needed this move. Now that this question has been posed to all countries, it’s time to look beyond statistics. Mental health of the people should be improved, especially in countries where families are becoming nuclear and old people are living alone. In such cases, personal interactions lag behind and along with this, visiting a psychiatrist is considered to be a taboo. This issue needs to be addressed maturely by all countries because social isolation is a growing epidemic.
The United Kingdom has set an example for other countries to look into those dark rooms where people sit all alone, waiting for someone to show them the light and make them smile. Loneliness can be very dangerous.