Qld probes pandemic's loneliness impact

·1-min read

Containing COVID-19 has been Queensland's priority during the pandemic, and now the state will investigate how lockdowns and limits on visitors affected mental health.

Social isolation and loneliness are the subject of a parliamentary Inquiry amid a pandemic in which one of the most effective weapon has been limiting contact between family and friends.

"In 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the personal stressor most experienced by Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic was loneliness," Communities Minister Leeanne Enoch said on Thursday.

"In fact, one in five Australians reported feelings of loneliness and social isolation as a result of the pandemic."

The inquiry will consider drivers, impacts and effective responses to social isolation and loneliness, with a focus on vulnerable groups including seniors, people with disability and young people.

The pandemic heightened a sense of social isolation experienced by many people, Council on the Ageing Queensland chief executive Mark Tucker-Evans said.

"Loneliness is a condition affecting many Queenslanders young and old and is leading to poorer physical and mental health outcomes," he said.

"This inquiry will look at both these separate yet related issues and should assist to build stronger social connections."

The inquiry is expected to inform the government's existing efforts to tackle the issues.

"Through our Care Army, our network of more than 125 neighbourhood and community centres and other initiatives, we've been working hard to address social isolation in our communities," Ms Enoch said.

Findings are expected to be reported on December 6.

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