In June we published our ‘Ignoring the Health Risks?’ report, tracking whether the newly established health and wellbeing boards (HWBs) across England had prioritised the public health issues of loneliness and isolation within their strategies. With 128 of 152 Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWS) published, we found that 61 had at least acknowledged loneliness and/or isolation as serious issues.
Now, five months later, we have published an updated report, ‘Still Ignoring the Health Risks?’, in which we find 146 boards have now published their strategies, and for the first time ever – more than half of boards have included some reference to loneliness or isolation in their strategies. In addition:
- 10 JHWS were awarded our gold standard – meaning the JHWS contained measurable actions or targets on loneliness.
- 33 JHWS achieved our silver standard – with a stated commitment to learning more about loneliness or measurable actions or targets on social isolation, improving social connections, networks or relationships.
- 33 JHWS met our bronze standard – acknowledging loneliness as a serious issue, but without making any commitment to any targets or actions, or making some commitment to learning more about social isolation, improving social connections, networks or relationships.
It’s great to see this progress and it is a testament to the hard work of our supporters, and the commitment to tackling loneliness made by of many of those sitting on local health and wellbeing boards. And beyond this we’re aware of other great work happening, which is not always captured in JHWS. In this report we include some examples of this sort of work, such the new loneliness provision scoping work being done in Halton.
So what happens next? Although we are delighted to be able to report progress there is still much work to do. 77 boards are yet to acknowledge loneliness in their joint strategies and those boards rated bronze now need to demonstrate their commitment to addressing the issue.
Over the next year the Campaign will be seeking to broaden our scope beyond the strategies of Health and Wellbeing Boards. We want to find out more about the services that are really helping to end loneliness in our communities and how we can measure their impact. We will also be seeking to hold more events that link up the best loneliness research with those delivering front line services. If you are interested in helping or want to get more involved with the campaign – take a look at our loneliness harms health campaign page.