New research reveals 44% of Australians regularly feel lonely and nine in ten (91%) say they experience loneliness, with half (48%) too embarrassed to admit this. With increased messaging around ‘togetherness’ ramping up during tough times, Australians are reflecting on their current support systems… or lack thereof. This comes as the Talking Loneliness report commissioned by Telstra, highlights the growing issue of widespread loneliness in Australia and explores its impacts on individuals, communities, and society at large. In fact, more than a third (38%) of Australians have never felt lonelier than they have in lockdown with one-in-four (27%) experiencing loneliness for the first time during COVID-19.
Yet while loneliness is indiscriminate, more than two fifths (41%) of Australians are worried about being judged if they say they are lonely. These worries are particularly prominent amongst members of the LGBTQI+ community (57%), Gen Z (52%), Millennials (50%) and parents with children under 18 (50%). Interestingly, whilst almost two-thirds (60%) of Australians assume that people aged 65+ would be the loneliest group in their community, the research reveals the older generation are actually the most likely to say they ‘never’ or ‘hardly ever’ feel lonely (46%).
In light of these findings, Telstra is donating 100,000 hours to tackle loneliness as part of Telstra Connection Day. To help start the conversation and destigmatise loneliness, Telstra has released a video series featuring nine real Australians sharing their own stories of loneliness and a dedicated hub with resources and support tools. Matt Smithson, Telstra spokesperson, touches on the report findings and breaks it down by generation.