The UK government believes the health impact of loneliness is on a par with smoking.
One hundred and twenty-six projects have been chosen to receive up to £100,000 each in the first ever government-backed fund to tackle loneliness.
The projects target a range of groups across England including lonely elderly men in Cornwall.
Loneliness increases the risk of depression, low self-esteem, sleep problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
Mims Davies, the minister for loneliness, said: “I am committed to encouraging open conversations around this sensitive topic to reduce the stigma and create an environment where everyone is better connected.”
A study by the Co-op and New Economics Foundation attempted to calculate the cost of loneliness to private sector employers and estimated there was a £2.5bn annual cost due to absence and productivity losses.
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