Tackling the causes of loneliness and social isolation is a national priority for the Welsh Government, Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies has announced.
The Minister said loneliness and social isolation is one of the most significant issues facing people in Wales, especially people aged over 80.
The Welsh Government's national strategy, Prosperity for All, will help direct the energy and resources of the whole public service to develop a coherent, holistic and long-term response to loneliness and isolation in Wales.
A number of initiatives are already in place to help reduce loneliness, including improved mental health support, free bus travel, free swimming for older people and intergenerational support to help older people get online.
As part of the new initiative the Welsh Government will:
Identify areas of work across the government that could be accelerated to tackle the issue
During 2018, publish for consultation a cross-government strategy on loneliness and isolation with a final strategy published by March 2019; and
Commission work to assess the impact of loneliness and isolation on health and well-being and whether people experiencing these issues make increased use of public services.
Loneliness can have and does have a significant impact on people's physical and mental health. As a government, we are committed to securing the best possible health, well-being and quality of life for people in Wales. So preventing people from becoming lonely and isolated must be a national priority for us, because it will not only improve people's lives, but it will also help reduce demand for health and social services.