It has long been recognised that social support – through the availability of nutritious food, safe housing and job opportunities – positively influences mental and physical health. Studies have repeatedly shown that those with fewer social connections have the highest mortality rates, highlighting that social isolation can threaten health through lack of access to clinical care, social services or needed support. However, how the subjective sense of loneliness (experienced by many even while surrounded by others) is a threat to health, may be less intuitive. It is important to recognize that feelings of social cohesion, mutual trust and respect, within one’s community and among different sections of society, are all crucial to well-being.

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