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COVID-19 Coronavirus: report by Joint Research Centre, “loneliness doubled in Europe during the pandemic”. Young people most affected

One in four EU citizens reported feeling “lonely most of the time during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic”, according to a report from the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) presented today. The report provides the latest evidence on loneliness and social isolation in the EU and analyses the survey by the “European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions”, which shows that “feeling lonely” “doubled” for Europeans “of all ages” during the first months of the pandemic. Loneliness among 18-25 year olds has increased fourfold compared to 2016, the report said. Even the “media coverage of loneliness” has doubled in the EU during the pandemic, although awareness of the issue varies widely between Member States. The JRC report also includes a detailed analysis of initiatives to tackle loneliness in 10 EU Member States. EU Commission Vice-President Dubravka Suica said: “The coronavirus pandemic has brought problems like loneliness and social isolation to the fore. These feelings already existed, but there was less public awareness of them. With this new report, we can start to better understand and tackle these problems”. Together with other initiatives, like the Green Paper on Ageing, “we have an opportunity to reflect on how to build together a more resilient, cohesive society and an EU that is closer to its citizens”. Commissioner for Research Mariya Gabriel added: “Loneliness is a challenge that is increasingly affecting our young people. But to address any challenge effectively we first need to understand it. Our scientists at the Joint Research Centre are providing valuable insights into loneliness and how people have been impacted by the pandemic. This new report gives us a baseline for broader analysis, so that loneliness and social isolation can be fully understood and addressed in Europe”. The EU project includes a new data collection on loneliness, to be carried out in 2022, and the establishment of a web platform to monitor loneliness over time and across Europe.

 

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