Let’s Talk About Loneliness Part 1, By Shannon Moule, Clinical Psychologist

Christina ReynoldsPsychology, Uncategorized

Over the course of the next few weeks I will release a three part series on LONELINESS. It was too big of a topic to fit in one, so bare with me as we explore this topic together. 

Part 1: What is LONELINESS and the effects of LONELINESS on health?

Part 2: Why do we end up feeling lonely? 

Part 3: How to overcome LONELINESS.


Let’s Talk About Loneliness, Part 1

By Shannon Moule, Clinical Psychologist


Part 1: What is LONELINESS and the effects of LONELINESS on health?

In August of 2018 I received the latest edition of InPsych from the Australian Psychological Society. A publication that provides interesting articles on important psychological topics. On the cover of this InPsych was the following:

LONELINESS: Is this Australia’s next public health epidemic?

Suffice to say my fear response system went off and at the same time my interest sparked, so I read on. 

The author of this article, Dr Michelle H Lim MAPS, Scientific Chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness informed that LONELINESS is not about the number of people you have around you but more related to the quality of the relationships you have. Peplau & Perlman (1982) further clarified LONELINESS by defining it as a feeling of being disconnected from others, and seeing your relationships as negative. So, you can be surrounded by lots of people, but still feel lonely. This explains why so many people using social media with lots of followers/friends still feel lonely.

This made complete sense to me, but what I didn’t know is just how debilitating LONELINESS is to both your physical and mental health. Dr Lim reported that loneliness is linked to poorer health outcomes with the following:

  • decreased immunity
  • increased inflammatory response
  • elevated blood pressure
  • decreases in cognitive health
  • faster progression of Alzheimer’s disease
  • mental health conditions

And the scariest of FACTOIDS from this article:

LONELINESS is associated with a 26% increased likelihood of mortality (Holt-Lunstad, Smith, Baker, Harris, & Stephenson, 2015)


So, my point is LONELINESS deserves our attention whether it is something you struggle with or someone you know who is, or might be. 

This brings us to a close of part 1 of 3 in this series on LONELINESS. I want you to read my blog “How’s your relationship with your emotions?” from back in May 2017 (I can’t believe it was that long ago) this will help you make a start on turning towards your LONELINESS before next weeks part 2 of my series on LONELINESS: Why do we end up feeling lonely?



Lim, Michelle, H. Dr (Aug, 2018). Is Loneliness Australia’s Next Public Health Epidemic? InPsych, Australian Psychology Society (APS), Vol 40 (4).

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