Combatting loneliness as a municipal priorityThe World Health Organisation considers loneliness one the major pandemics of the 21st century. Figures show that the feeling of loneliness affects all social profiles, ages and genders, and that it has increased notably following the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this, the municipal strategy to combat loneliness is under way with the goal of identifying risks, fostering social ties, offering services and resources to adapt municipal services.
The figures show that before Covid-19, a high percentage of Barcelona inhabitants of all ages felt lonely, with data appearing for children, adults and the elderly and becoming worse because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the figures, the City Council is giving priority to the Municipal Plan to Combat Loneliness 2020-2030 for the next few years.
The Scientific Advisory Board to Combat Loneliness was set up today and is made up of experts from academic and scientific spheres. The goal of the board is to jointly tackle the various aspects of loneliness and propose action, policies and projects to prevent and reduce loneliness in the city. The Municipal Observatory on Loneliness will also be set up with data, local and international research and a list of resources and services to fight loneliness.
More than 150 professionals and representatives from organisations will be taking part, the idea being to present the measures and results early in 2021.
Greater accessibility to resources and services
The municipal strategy to combat loneliness is based around six areas of work:
- Offering face-to-face and virtual resources to provide guidance for people in relation to loneliness.
- Raising awareness on loneliness and how it can affect people of any age, gender or origin.
- Making city neighbourhoods into places for interaction, boosting accessible spaces and municipal programmes and services as a first line for detection.
- Rethinking the city in terms of fighting loneliness, designing spaces and facilities to promote communication and collaboration between people.
- Institutional networking with organisations and other cities to exchange knowledge and find solutions.
- Reviewing protocols and internal organisational systems to make the necessary changes to enable new challenges relating to loneliness to be tackled.