Writing in the United Church Observer, the medical journalist André Picard describes loneliness as a hidden epidemic, afflicting up to 6 million Canadians.
The medical impact of this epidemic is startling. According to Picard’s review of the studies:
…loneliness is as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day;
having no friends may increase the risk of premature death by about 30 percent;
social isolation can be twice as deadly as obesity;
it’s as big a killer as diabetes
and it hikes the risk of dementia by 64 percent.
Loneliness is a quantifiable health hazard.
The solution, he notes, is building community.