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Mentally and physically destructive to our health, loneliness is fast becoming one of the largest health concerns we face as a nation. Living alone, or having poor social connections can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; it is more damaging to suffer from loneliness than it is to be obese. Loneliness is likely to increase our risk of death by 29%.

These worrying statistics are not being properly addressed. Current global health concerns have only exacerbated this problem. Many people who once led active social lives have been forced to shelter at home to stay safe. While concerns for loneliness were considered, the numbers of people experiencing loneliness is only increasing across the country.

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Digital Exclusion

As we continue to move in a digital world and continue to innovate and explore new technology, we risk widening the gap between those lonely and those not. The numbers of people unconnected to this ever-expanding digital world are being left behind. Digital exclusion plays a significant part in the lives of people who are socially isolated; lonely people are often excluded from the digital world around them.

The ReachOut team continue to support those socially isolated and digitally excluded but we want to ensure no one is left behind in this digital revolution. A digital world should be inclusive and connected! The digital revolution is an opportunity to help people experiencing loneliness become more connected, become more included; whether that be to keep in touch with loved ones, or to access vital services for their health and wellbeing. Digitisation should not be a part of social isolation and loneliness!

Learn My Way is a resource we as a team utilise to help people develop their digital skills. Designed to help beginners get started with the online basics, it is a stepping stone to breaking the ties between digital exclusion and loneliness.

Across our learning centres, project workers are on hand to guide people through the basics to becoming more digitally aware. Our sessions are learner led and often taking the first step can be enormous but with a brew and someone to chat to, digital exclusion doesn’t have to play a part in fostering feelings of loneliness.

For more information about how the Reachout team can help you or someone you know who is digitally excluded, get in touch!

Call us on 0161 877 9439 or for those on your way to breaking the digital divide, email info@gmbreachout.org.uk

This blog was originally posted here.

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