Cost of living crisis is compounding isolation
The British Red Cross is encouraging people to reach out to friends and family who may be feeling lonely this Christmas.
A poll by the charity shows that 63% of people in Scotland feel loneliness will be a bigger problem this winter than last.
The organisation is also calling on the Scottish Government to continue to prioritise tackling loneliness and social isolation in the new year.
New YouGov polling from the charity released shows that in Scotland:
- 81% of people agree that the cost of living crisis will push more people into loneliness,
- 43% are restricting how much they socialise this winter because of the increased cost of living,
- 68% worry about people in their community being lonely this Christmas,
- and 51% will be cutting back on socialising in pubs, restaurants and clubs this Christmas due to financial concerns and 32% will be cutting back on travelling to see family and friends.
The Red Cross, which runs projects in Scotland supporting people who are lonely to reconnect with their community, says that a simple phone call or text message could make all the difference.
Of people in Scotland who feel lonely nowadays, over half (53%) said that a phone call from family or friends would help them to feel less lonely this Christmas.
People also said that text or WhatsApp messages from family or friends (44%), being invited for Christmas dinner by family, friends or neighbours (44%) or receiving a Christmas card (34%) would help.
Kenneth Watt, policy and public affairs manager at the British Red Cross, said: “During lockdown many of us realised the importance of human connection like never before. Sadly, loneliness continues to be a real risk this Christmas for many people.
“While the cost of living crisis will mean people are restricting how much they socialise, we know that there are simple steps we can all take to help.
“Reaching out to family and friends with a quick call or text message could make all the difference for those worried about being lonely this Christmas.
“Loneliness can affect everyone, of all ages, and we can all play a part in tackling it.
“But we also need to see continued action from the Scottish Government to make sure everyone gets the support they need.”