New research from Medibank has revealed that as the pandemic enters it's third calendar year, not only are more Australians self-reporting as feeling lonely, they are feeling lonelier for longer. More than half (53%) of Australians surveyed feel lonely on one or more days during a typical week, with a quarter (25%) of respondents citing the feeling loneliness on three or more days. A staggering one in three Australians surveyed were classified with a high level of loneliness*; an increase from one in four in 2020. The majority (56%) of those who experience loneliness say it impacts their personal health while 46% say it impacts their personal relationships. Lack of understanding around the issue is prevalent, with over two thirds (69%) of Australians surveyed finding it hard to spot loneliness in themselves or in others.
For those who have identified their own loneliness, there are a number of barriers preventing them from seeking support including the fear of burdening others (28%) and the feeling that people won’t get it (20%). To explore the theme of loneliness and drive positive conversations around mental health and wellbeing, Medibank has announced the launch of its new podcast series, We Are Lonely. Hosted by radio and TV personality Myf Warhurst and Dr Frederic Kiernan, the podcast series explores guests’ personal experiences with loneliness and provide insight into how these feelings are an experience shared by everyone. The in-depth interviews feature an iconic line-up of Australian artists, actors and entertainers including award-winning Actor Hugo Weaving, Patricia Piccinini, Darren Hayes, Tash Sultana, and Yorta-Yorta rapper Briggs. Dr Fred is an early career researcher whose work examines the relationship between music, creativity, emotion and wellbeing. He is also a University of Melbourne research fellow.