Our objective is to relieve the suffering, distress and helplessness of vulnerable and disadvantaged people so as to enhance their physical, social and emotional wellbeing.
We know that safe, healthy relationships are the key to wellbeing. Loneliness and social isolation are associated with a range of poor mental, physical and socio economic outcomes.
Adolescents who do not have close friendships and good social networks consistently report lower levels of self-esteem, more psychological symptoms of maladjustment, and are at higher risk of suicide.
There is also a relationship between social isolation and depression (Rubin & Mills, 1998), lower levels of self-worth (Qualter & Munn, 2002) and poor physical health. For example, people who are socially isolated, or do not have good quality social support, are also at greater risk of developing coronary heart disease.
The risk factors for loneliness and social isolation include being widowed or separated, childless, living alone, experiencing deteriorating health or significant life events such as loss and bereavement. Other factors include age and low income, particularly for women. Loneliness for men has been found to generally increase with ageing, while loneliness for women generally decreases as they age (Baker, 2012; Flood 2005; Grenade & Boldy, 2008).
More than 2,500 people responded to a national Relationships Australia survey on loneliness in October 2014. The survey found that close to one in four women and one in three men did not have someone to help them out if they were in need.
Survey results indicated that close to 90 per cent of both men and women felt better after talking with someone. Around three quarters of the 2,500 survey respondents said they agreed with the statement that they ‘often felt very lonely when feeling down’.
We work with individuals, couples, families and communities to promote, strengthen, and enhance relationships to help reduce loneliness and social isolation, and consequently minimise the associated emotional, mental and physical risks.
We also participated in community-building activities such as pamper days for women in regional and remote areas, art-focused therapy programs and family-focused activities providing fathers who may be experiencing disadvantage with the opportunity to spend time with their children.
We support, participate in and promote conferences, seminars, forums and community events such as Harmony Day and White Ribbon Day.