The Ministry for Loneliness will have to deal with 9 million people who live “isolated”, 2 million who live alone, at least 200 thousand elderly people who spend weeks without meeting anyone. With consequent health problems and in particular depression
It seems like an idea straight out of the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novels: a “ministry for solitude”. Instead it really exists: Theresa May decided to create it. From now on the British government will have a “minister for Loneliness”, Downing EStreet announced this morning, who will have to deal with what the health authorities consider a national issue: 9 million people living “isolated”, 2 million living alone, at least 200 thousand elderly people who spend weeks without meeting anyone. And because living alone is considered a factor in numerous diseases, starting with depression, loneliness is a public health problem for the UK.
The position of minister of solitude (this is what undersecretaries are called in English political jargon, while the equivalent of our ministers are secretaries) has been assigned to Tracey Crouch, a Conservative MP. But the first call for a government initiative of this type was Jo Cox, the Labor MP murdered by a far-right xenophobic fanatic on the eve of the Brexit referendum, and the prime minister recognized her role in raising awareness the political world on the topic.
“Jo Cox understood the dimensions of loneliness in our country and was dedicated to doing everything possible to eradicate it,” says the Tory leader, promising to continue on the path taken by the Labor MP to outline a strategy for the future. The cuts in public spending that have caused the closure of libraries and centers for the elderly are generally indicated among the causes of the phenomenon, admits the new minister Crouch, maintaining however that there is no single solution and it will be necessary to take action on several fronts.< /p> Last December the director general of the NHS, the national public health system, raised the alarm about the lethal effects that loneliness and frost could have in the winter months. Brendan Cox, widower of the murdered parliamentarian, comments: “One of the terrible consequences of losing my wife is knowing that she would have made the world a better place. But as I always tell our children, here is proof that, even if their mother is not there more, the battles he fought still manage to produce an effect.”
Article from “La Repubblica”