LONELINESS remains a taboo subject among people in Yorkshire, with most happier to talk about death, money or body image than admitting they are lonely.
A new survey found two thirds of people in the region, 66 per cent, would be uncomfortable confiding in a friend or family member that they feel lonely.
More than a quarter, 28 per cent, said they knew someone who was lonely and 14 per cent said loneliness was something that affects them regularly.
The Co-op, which carried out the survey as it launched a new campaign to raise money to support the British Red Cross’s work tackling the issue, said the survey showed that loneliness appears to carry the same social discomfort associated until recently with mental health, and that people are far more likely to spot loneliness in others than in themselves.
The Yorkshire Post launched a campaign to raise awareness of the health impact of loneliness in February 2014, after revealing how it takes a toll on 91,300 older people in our region.
The combination of an ageing population, the increase in single occupancy households, high divorce rates, greater workforce mobility and the rise of social media, suggest it is highly likely that many people will face loneliness at some point in their lives, the Co-op said.
Group chief executive Richard Pennycook said: “Loneliness is one of our biggest social issues, but gets little public attention. Our members overwhelmingly chose it as our campaign issue this year, illustrating how pervasive it is.
“From young people struggling to find their identity, to single parents bringing up kids, to carers coping with dementia, to the elderly left on their own, it does not discriminate.”
The company aims to raise millions of pounds to tackle loneliness over the next two years.
British Red Cross chief executive, Mike Adamson, said: “We know that a large proportion of them are living alone and can very quickly become lonely. Our support at home services improve the lives of thousands of people across the UK, which is why we are so excited to be working in partnership with the Co-op to raise awareness of this issue and help transform the lives of many more people.”