NEARLY five years ago loneliness wasn’t even on the political agenda when concerns about social isolation, particularly amongst elderly residents living in the remoter areas of North Yorkshire, were first highlighted by The Yorkshire Post in February 2014.
Now Theresa May has helped launch the Government’s national strategy on this issue while 200 delegates came together at a major conference in Harrogate to listen to Kim Leadbeater – sister of murdered MP Jo Cox – speak about the issue’s importance and what more can be done by civic and community leaders.
Yet, as awareness has grown, so, too, has the realisation that loneliness can afflict people of all ages, a point highlighted by the Duchess of Sussex who believes that young people, and their sense of self-worth, is becoming “really skewed” by social media.
Speaking during the latest leg of the Royal tour to Australasia, she said there’s more to life than the number of ‘likes’ on photos posted on Instagram, and other forums, and that real – and lasting – friendships matter far more. Given the esteem in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are both held, it can only be hoped that youngsters heed the message and realise that Facebook friends, or social media likes, are no substitute for real friends who will always be there through good times and bad.