Social Wellness Efforts Confront Loneliness Epidemic

Run Talk Run

Despite being more connected than ever, we’re feeling more alone.

Cutting Ties

A striking stat, 13% of EU residents feel lonely a majority of the time.

Hitting younger generations especially hard, a friendship recession – including the erosion of community and an overreliance on technology – is leaving people isolated and unfulfilled.

A health crisis on par with smoking and obesity, top theories pin alone-time in front of screens as a determinant to individual and societal well-being. At its most extreme, chronic loneliness can increase risk of heart disease and dementia while lowering life expectancy by 15 years.

The “We” in Wellness

Bridging the gaps left by modern society, brands are helping people cultivate connections within existing wellness spaces.

  • Run Talk Run, a series of running groups in the UK, Switzerland and Australia, provides a safe space for people to connect and talk about mental health.
  • The UK’s Rewilding Surf Retreats combine outdoor activities and traditional wellness practices like yoga and meditation to help men form emotional bonds.
  • Social support groups like NYC’s Peoplehood leverage music and breathwork to teach people how to express themselves and improve relationships.

Expanding access, wellness initiatives around the world are testing everything from social prescribing to paid socialisation.

Another approach, UK innovation agency Nesta will invest £50M into startups solving societal problems, with a portion of the funds going to Mission Studio, a joint venture with Founders Factory tackling issues like loneliness.

Looking ahead: Social wellness ventures are a path to meaningful connection. But beyond weekly clubs and circles, we must address the root causes of loneliness in order to improve health outcomes at scale.

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