Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Loneliness Matters

Loneliness Matters

Winner Year 5/6

Taskiya Gould

Year 5, Arkana College


Loneliness is a pervasive issue affecting every age and race. Feelings of isolation and loss of hope can have a negative impact on a person's mental health. Humans are frail and complex, unable to keep emotions inside and need support through life, whether a teenager, a new mother or an isolated grandparent. Loneliness matters.

Slumped on a bench, feet race past, eyes down, cheeks wet...

New situations can be difficult for children, like a new school or even a new country. It is hard for children to fit in and be welcomed for who they are. Feeling accepted and belonging is an integral part of well-being. Recent research showed that fifty percent of Australians reported feeling lonely in the last week. People are full of emotions like hopes and fear, and need to share and discuss their emotions as all stages of life. Man is not an island, and for a person to survive, connection is needed. The mental health of society is just as important as physical health, but can't always be seen and goes undetected, impacting other areas of life, leading to depression and even obesity.

Middle of the night, uptight in bed, scrolling, sighing, following...

Loneliness can affect even those who are surrounded by friends, online or offline. Today, social media allows people to develop relationships through a piece of plastic. You may like, tag or friend someone online, but it's a superficial connection. Do they really know you? One in five say they don't have anyone they feel close to. Even with many followers, people can still feel alone. Real friends can comfort and read body language. Humans need touch for both their physical and mental health. When it comes to friends, better to choose quality over quantity.

Empty house, newspapers piled, wrinkled face, lost memories...

Loneliness doesn't discriminate by age or culture. Whether you are a new mother isolated from your community, or an elderly person with no family, everyone needs support. Statistics show that half a million elderly people go at least five days without seeing or speaking to anyone. In today's society, the cost of living keeps increasing and parents are working more, meaning children spend less time with their family and grandparents. Less time at home also means less time around neighbours diminishing bonds with the community and resulting in social isolation. People need to be part of a community to thrive and grow.

Loneliness is a ubiquitous issue across every age and culture, affecting the physical and mental health of society. Being a new child at school or a refugee in a new country, a teenager on social media, a new mother or an isolated grandparent, everyone needs support.

Loneliness matters.

References -

2018 Australian loneliness report, https://psychweek.org.au/loneliness-study/