Associate Professor Simon Stafrace (Program Director, Alfred Mental & Addiction Health)
Topic: "Loneliness and its Impact on Our Community"
Date: Monday, 26 August 2019
Venue: Old Treasury Buildings, Spring St., Melbourne
Time: 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm
I have been a psychiatrist for over 20 years and have worked in hospital and community settings, in both public and private mental health care.
In my current position at Alfred Health as Program Director of Mental & Addiction Health, I am responsible for the delivery of clinical services at 12 locations across southern metropolitan Melbourne and a research centre managed in partnership with Monash University. I am a board member of Mental Health Victoria and Tandem Inc, the peak bodies for mental health services & mental health carers in Victoria, and a member of the Inner South East Metropolitan Partnership, where I am leading a project looking at ways to engage the local community to think about loneliness.
The appointment of Tracey Crouch as Minister for Loneliness in the UK in 2018 prompted an upsurge in interest in programmes aimed at tackling what has been referred to as the “growing problem of loneliness” and an “epidemic”.
In a recent survey, the Australian Psychological Association found that one in four Australians (27.6%) felt lonely for three or more days per week. Among people suffering from psychosis, loneliness is reported as one of the top three barriers to recovery, in addition to poverty and employment. It is common amongst younger single mothers with children living at home, middle aged men following marital breakdown, and older people who have been recently bereaved.
Loneliness has an adverse impact on the quality of life and the physical and mental health of the people affected by it.
In this talk, I will describe what we understand about loneliness and why it matters to the health and wellbeing of a community. I will also talk about the work being done by the Inner South East Metropolitan Partnership to reduce social isolation and improve social connectedness in our part of Melbourne.