Monday, January 29, 2018

187. Do we need a Ministry of Loneliness?

Trust Britain to come up with new ideas. Recently, they  appointed a Minister for Loneliness. The rationale came from a 2017 report of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness which revealed that about 9 million people in the country suffered from loneliness sometimes or all the time. It will be interesting to see how this new Ministry handles the issue of loneliness.

The problem  seems to be quite acute in India too. With joint families breaking down, many more people suffer from loneliness today than ever before in the past. Millions of old people are living alone. They find nothing to look forward to and are just waiting to die. A large number of teenagers and youngsters are also feeling lonely, as pressure for success in studies and careers mount on them. Growing incidence of suicide among young people indicates the gravity of the problem.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much awareness about the impact of mental condition on one's physical health. While we hear a lot about the need to tackle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer and so on, there is hardly any understanding that unhappiness caused by loneliness can lead to diseases or aggravate them.

What seems to be important is imparting of skills to people to deal with their loneliness. If one knows how to keep oneself busy and how to deal with one's emotions in a reasonable manner, one will not experience much loneliness. It is a good idea to develop some hobbies at an early stage. These may include drawing, painting, music, gardening, reading ... whatever. Also, one must understand the necessity to invest time and effort into building a circle of friends and well-wishers.It is also important to appreciate that with right attitude, one may not feel loneliness even if one is alone, and without such attitude, one may feel very lonely even if surrounded by many people. Basically, it is the way one handles oneself. 

I don't think, we need to emulate the example of Britain and set up a Ministry of Loneliness. Launch of a nation-wide, well-targeted and effective programme of education designed by experts can be a good beginning.

1 comment:

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

It is a must as loneliness can be very dangerous.. we need to understand ASAP..

UK has started a good initiative..