Neighbour Day 2019 Theme
Loneliness – what neighbours can do to create connections
We tend to think of lonely people as old, or single people living alone. But loneliness is experienced by people across the age and social spectrum, including young people, people living with their partners and families, and even people surrounded by others in the workplace.
Research paints a confronting picture:
- Loneliness is associated with poor physical health, poor socio-economic outcomes, social anxiety, and poor mental health.
- It increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% – similar to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
- Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and the onset of disability. People who are socially isolated, or do not have good quality social support, are at greater risk of dying earlier than those with good social connections.
- Teenagers who do not have close friendships and good social networks have lower levels of self-esteem, are poorly adjusted and at higher risk of suicide.
- Particular people are at increased risk. For example, single parents, particularly men, those who have lost a partner and those experiencing poor health.
Australia is in the midst of a loneliness crisis, with many in our population experiencing a deficit of social connection, that is, they do not enjoy meaningful relationships in their lives to sustain and nurture them, particularly through difficult times.
Australians are increasingly time poor, with many households having all adults in employment, and less time for community engagement and neighbourhood connection. Fewer people know, and interact with, their neighbours and are members of community groups. The circle of people we feel we can turn to when we need a hand, or a shoulder to cry on is shrinking in all age groups.
This loneliness crisis is not confined to Australia, rather it is a recognised phenomenon in many western nations. Indeed, in 2017 the UK Parliament set up a national inquiry into the problem and subsequently established a Ministry for Loneliness.
Here at Neighbour Day, we believe it is critical that we reinvigorate our communities, get people to connect with their neighbours and in doing so, drive a dent in loneliness.
In 2019 the theme for Neighbour Day will be ‘loneliness – what neighbours can do to create connections’.
Throughout our Neighbour Day campaign in 2019, we will be encouraging all Australians to take the ‘loneliness challenge’ – see our handy tips to connect with those around you.
We will be encouraging all Australians to reach out to the vulnerable and lonely members of their community to create a connection – whether it’s a few friendly words across the back fence, inviting your elderly neighbour in for a cuppa, organising a community get-together, or stopping for a chat when you’re walking the dog. We would love to hear your stories of new neighbourly connections.
While Neighbour Day itself is held on the last Sunday in March every year, we believe we should live every day as if it’s is Neighbour Day.
How to be involved:
We encourage you to get involved in Neighbour Day on Sunday 31 March 2019 or any day that suits your community.
If you’re hosting an event:
Register to access free material to help you organise a successful Neighbour Day event – including posters, invitations, labels, flyers and helpful tips.
If you’re attending an event:
On Social Media:
- Share a message of why you think knowing your neighbours is important.
- Share a message of why you think social connection is important.
- Use the hashtag #NeighbourDay
- Download our Neighbour Day selfie sign take a photo with it, and share the photo with us on our social media networks.
Neighbour Day 2019 Resources:
Images are a great way to capture attention in a busy newsfeed. Click on any of our 2019 Neighbour Day graphics below for use in your own social media posts. You are also welcome to use our other resources, check out the links below.