Young adults hardest hit by loneliness during pandemic

first_imgAs psychologists worry that the coronavirus pandemic is triggering a loneliness epidemic, new Harvard research suggests feelings of social isolation are on the rise and that those hardest hit are older teens and young adults.In the recently released results of a study conducted last October by researchers at Making Caring Common, 36 percent of respondents to a national survey of approximately 950 Americans reported feeling lonely “frequently” or “almost all the time or all the time” in the prior four weeks, compared with 25 percent who recalled experiencing serious issues in the two months prior to the pandemic. Perhaps most striking is that 61 percent of those aged 18 to 25 reported high levels.“I was surprised at the degree of loneliness among young people,” said Richard Weissbourd, a psychologist and senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) who helped lead the research. “If you look at other studies on the elderly, their rates of loneliness are high, but they don’t seem to be as high as they are for young people.”The unsettling statistic is even more troubling when combined with June data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that 63 percent of young people reported experiencing substantial symptoms of anxiety and depression. “It’s a group that we are really concerned about,” said Weissbourd, who suspects several factors are at work.Older teens and young adults may be particularly susceptible because they are often transitioning from their “inherited families to their chosen families,” said Weissbourd, meaning they lack important connections to those who can “be critical guardrails against loneliness.” Students in college may be struggling to fit in and feel homesick, while those not in school can feel disconnected from important social groups or communities. Young people are also often making critical decisions about their professional and personal lives and relationships, which can add to the stress and sense of isolation, he said. “If every person who’s in pretty good shape can make a commitment to reaching out to one person they are concerned might be lonely once a week, that would be a good thing.” — Richard Weissbourd, psychologist, senior lecturer at the Graduate School of Education Feeling more anxious and stressed? You’re not alone Social distance makes the heart grow lonelier The new report also points to the way such feelings can lead to a downward spiral. Many young people who reported serious loneliness also said they felt as if no one “genuinely cared” about them. The survey also suggests that lonely people often feel they’re reaching out or listening to other people more than other people are reaching out or listening to them. “These things can become self-defeating,” said Weissbourd. “When you feel like you’re trying hard while other people are not trying hard, or you feel like you’re going to get rejected again, you withdraw, which increases your loneliness and your anxiety about social situations.”Weissbourd and his team argue that eliminating loneliness requires a robust social infrastructure. Schools can be important points of intervention, they suggest, where teachers can be trained to connect parents to each other and to ensure every student is connected to a school adult. Doctors should also be asking about loneliness during annual physicals, helping connect patients who are struggling with social supports; high schools, colleges, and senior centers should focus on connecting young people with the elderly; and employers should check in with employees about whether they are lonely and provide them with resources that support connection. To further reduce the stigma associated with loneliness, the authors also recommend the creation of national, state, and local campaigns that stress the importance of maintaining social ties, and reassure those suffering that it’s OK to seek help.“We need public education that removes the stigma of loneliness and really tries to alleviate the shame,” said Weissbourd, “because shame can also be self-defeating and cause you to avoid social situations or hide your true feelings in ways that make meaningful connections with others very hard.”Weissbourd said he and his colleagues consider combating loneliness a moral imperative in an increasingly “hyper-individualistic society,” where many people often choose to focus on the well-being of their small circle of family and friends.“We’re making the case that there’s a moral matter in terms of our community health, and that those of us who are in a position to do so should try to reach out to people who may be lonely. If every person who’s in pretty good shape can make a commitment to reaching out to one person they are concerned might be lonely once a week, that would be a good thing.”,Related Experts: COVID has robbed us of impromptu contacts that help keep us happy Harvard experts discuss ways to ease the rising sense of isolation and feel more connected Chan School’s Koenen discusses rising mental health concerns in the coronavirus era The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. The value of talking to strangers — and nodding acquaintanceslast_img read more

COVID-19: Govt to provide Rp 4.5t in social assistance to millions of low-income people in Jakarta

first_imgThe Social Affairs Ministry is preparing an assistance program worth around Rp 4.5 trillion (US$276 million) to serve as a cushion for residents in Jakarta impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Partnering with the Social Affairs Ministry, the Jakarta administration is planning to provide Rp 1 million to each household for a targeted 2.6 million residents, comprising the poor and vulnerable groups, between April and May, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Thursday.As of September 2019, there were 362,300 poor residents in the capital city with monthly spending below Rp 663,355 per person. The figure is down 0.27 percent from the same period in 2018, according to Statistics Indonesia’s Jakarta office (BPS Jakarta). The targeted residents in Jakarta are expected to suffer losses because the administration ordered the suspension of school, office, religious and public activities as it declared a state of emergency between March 16 and April 19. As people are staying at home, they are buying less goods and services as reflected in quiet traditional markets.The extended state of emergency in Jakarta, the national epicenter of the outbreak, was a response to the recent wave of coronavirus cases that shows no signs of slowing down yet. Jakarta has been the hardest hit province in the country with 897 confirmed cases and 90 fatalities, nearly half the nationwide figure of 1,790 cases and 170 fatalities.Anies further said that some residents falling into the group were not Jakarta residents by their identity cards, which made it harder for the administration to collect their data.The administration will use data it has been collecting through a program called One Jakarta, which employs the Family Welfare Movement (PKK) to collect household data.Editor’s note: The heading and lead of this article have been updated to clarify the source of the social assistance.Topics : However, the administration and the ministry have data only on poor residents who have been registered in the government’s social safety net programs. They do not have data on the vulnerable residents. Incomplete data on the targeted residents thus poses a challenge to the plan.“We need time to identify the groups vulnerable to fall into poverty,” Anies said during an online video conference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Thursday.Read also: Indonesia braces for recession, activates crisis protocol“These are people who have not received any direct assistance,” said Anies. They are motorcycle taxi drivers, meatball sellers and street vendors. They do have an income. But when the economy is contracting, they lose their income.”last_img read more