February 28, 2024

Associations and their role in addressing the Loneliness Epidemic

Increasingly, governments, businesses and policymakers are focusing on the issue of loneliness.

Loneliness is linked to poor health, both physical and mental, emphasizing the need to ensure it remains a priority on the socio-economic agenda.

Associations, it should be noted, can, and do, play a key role in addressing the issue of loneliness.

Some claims suggest that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and that loneliness can increase your overall risk of death by 26%.

The impact of the pandemic

The Covid pandemic only heightened evidence for how important social capital is to our health and wellbeing. But, while some measures were introduced to combat the isolating impact of lockdowns, we?ve since seen a slowing in the momentum behind tackling the loneliness epidemic.

By their very nature, missions, and mandates, Associations, by definition, are involved in the work of bringing people together, inviting people to network, and to join with others in common cause.

Associations should be highlighting this key, and rather fundamental purpose, and benefit offered societies, in all of their advocacy and outreach communications.

Associations know about the value of membership and belonging. But we shouldn’t allow the crucial work that we do, in this regard, to go unnoticed, or, for that matter, be taken for granted.

Integrating Membership Management Software to Combat Loneliness

While associations play a vital role in fostering connections, membership management software serves as a powerful tool in enhancing their outreach efforts. By leveraging technology to streamline membership processes, manage communication, and organize events, associations can effectively reach individuals in need of connection and belonging.

Make combating loneliness a priority.

We must ensure that loneliness remains a firm priority in the years to come.

Loneliness is not a simple challenge to solve. There is no magic bullet. But with support, we can continue to drive action and build on the momentum needed to tackle the issue and create a healthier, happier future.

Understanding loneliness should be a priority, and every consideration given as to how to lower its incidence, by facilitating access for people to associate and network with others.

But while loneliness is now recognized as a public health issue, we still don?t really understand the extent of its impact on society. Associations, as part of proving their value to societies, should be at the forefront of improving understanding of the issue, and the positive outcomes associated with reducing its incidence through loneliness interventions.

Connecting people is what we do.

Associations, on both individual, and group bases, can lead initiatives to tackle loneliness and build community.

We can bear down, with increased energy and purpose, to increase our outreach campaigns to build and consolidate membership, and to seek out new ways to welcome non-members into the fold, as part of our on-going mission to build connectedness between individuals.

Building connections between people, reaching out to those in need of connection, is simply what we do, and why we exist.

We need to highlight our work, directly and indirectly, combatting the loneliness epidemic in all of our advocacy and communication efforts, increasing the salience of the value we add to our societies and communities.

Paul McKay CAE, Senior Advisor, McKay Associates can be reached through LinkedIn @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/mckay-associates/

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