“Right now, more than 6 million Australians feel lonely. That's 1 in 3 people. Your friend, neighbour, parent, partner, child, or colleague could be feeling lonely.”
These were some of the findings in the State of the Nation Report on Social Connection in Australia 2023 released by Ending Loneliness Together during Loneliness Awareness Week 7-13 August 2023.
SHA has responded to this report on social media and through direct contact with Ending Loneliness Together. We know that the principles and practices associated with spirituality and spiritual care align well with the strategies outlined in the report to address loneliness and social isolation. They can contribute to building a more connected and compassionate society, where everyone feels a sense of meaningful social connection and belonging. For a detailed overview of how spirituality and spiritual care can alleviate loneliness and encourage social connection, read our full response here.
The release of the 2023 Intergenerational Report by the Federal Treasurer just last week called attention to a broad range of challenges expected to reshape Australia’s economy over the next 40 years. Carolyn Nikoloski, CEO of Mental Health Australia, commented that the report “was a missed opportunity to recognise the strong body of evidence that says investment in mental health reform is good for the economy, as well as being good for the mental health and wellbeing of our communities, both now and for our future generations.” While the report does not specifically address spirituality or spiritual care, attention to these can be part of a holistic and creative approach to addressing the key issues identified in the report.
By recognising the spiritual dimension of human experience, policymakers and practitioners can create more compassionate, resilient, and inclusive solutions that align with the complex challenges and opportunities facing Australia's future. This is what is needed for the health and wellbeing of the nation.
Cheryl Holmes, CEO