Review of the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health and well-being and whether people who experience loneliness/social isolation have higher use of public services
WEAKLAND John H, OWENS Janine, SIROIS Fuschia M.
This research, carried out by the University of Sheffield and OB3 Research, explores whether loneliness and social isolation result in increased use of public and health services. It also looks at the types of contexts that led to increased or decreased service use as a result of loneliness and social isolation. The research involved a scoping review of the literature, a meta-analysis of nine papers and a consultation with 10 key organisations representing a range of groups in Wales. The consultation identified issues for a number of groups, including children, older people, refugees and asylum seekers, LGBTQ people, single parents, and carers. The findings suggest that loneliness and social isolation do play a part in increased use of services, but that loneliness and social isolation alone do not create the conditions for increased service use. Perceptions of loneliness and social isolation for the service users can also be intensified by inconsistency in accessing services, particularly for those who are from already stigmatised groups. The report discusses key themes and their relationship with loneliness, social isolation, access to services and service use. Including: stigma and service use; service related barriers; bullying and victimisation; disabilities; housing, poverty, and changes to service delivery. It makes 16 recommendations for the Welsh Government, which include: for research into loneliness and social isolation, and the recruitment of more peer support workers into the voluntary and public sector to support different groups of people.