Beware the Loneliness Epidemic: How Isolation is Slowly Destroying Our Mental and Physical Health.

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Loneliness has become an increasingly significant problem in Canada, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to increased social isolation and a lack of support. Research has demonstrated that loneliness has a significant impact on physical health, leading to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia, and it is estimated to contribute to around 45,000 deaths annually in Canada. The problem is particularly acute among the elderly, who experienced high levels of loneliness during the pandemic. Studies have shown that loneliness can have a physical impact on the brain by shrinking the hippocampus region associated with learning and memory. A decline in community ties and an increase in technology use have been blamed for the rise in loneliness. The Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has reported increased levels of anxiety and depression among respondents, with levels highest among those aged 18 to 39. Experts have called for efforts to tackle loneliness in the same way as anti-smoking campaigns, with interventions focusing on deep healing, therapy, and connection to build social ties and counteract the effects of loneliness.

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