Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is calling on constituents in the Western Isles to contribute to the Scottish Government’s new consultation looking at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.

The consultation will run until 30 April and will thereafter feed into a new national strategy, one of the first in the world, to tackle loneliness and isolation. A national strategy to combat loneliness was a key ask of the Jo Cox Commission, which welcomed this announcement.

Views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolated have access to the right support networks.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“It’s important that voices from across the islands get involved in the Scottish Government’s consultation to help shape the new loneliness and isolation strategy. Every one of us has a role to play in reducing loneliness in Scotland.

“Dealing with loneliness and isolation can be incredibly difficult, and by reaching out to our neighbours or anyone we think may be at risk of becoming isolated or lonely we can all have a hugely positive impact. We are lucky to have organisations like Befriending Lewis and Caraidean Uibhist, among others.

“Loneliness can affect all ages and it is linked to both poor physical and mental health. Research now suggests loneliness can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can have wide-ranging consequences on so many aspects of our lives.

“The SNP Government will be the first country in the UK and one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation, but this strategy needs our communities and society to lead the way in ensuring those at risk of loneliness get the support they need. I would encourage as many people as possible in the islands to have a say on this very important issue by contributing to the consultation.”

The Scottish Government’s consultation will run until 30 April and can be found at https://consult.gov.scot/equality-unit/connected-scotland

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