English 101 Essay on Loneliness: Why the Crowd Means Nearly Nothing

Loneliness: Why the Crowd Means Nearly Nothing

Introduction

In their paper Preventing Loneliness and Social Isolation: Interventions and Outcomes, Windle, Francis and Coomber (3-4)suggest three main categories of intervention: one-to-one interventions (including befriending, mentoring and community navigators or wayfinders); group services and wider community engagement. There is double standard here. By speaking of loneliness ‘and’ social isolation, the implication is that the two are separate, albeit related. However, the implication in the suggested interventions tells a different story; that loneliness goes hand-in-hand with social isolation; that loneliness can be ‘treated’ by engaging with others. True, social isolation is both a cause and effect of loneliness. Still, loneliness can and often stands apart from social isolation (Szalavitz 1).

It is common for people to lonely despite having a crowd of people around them: a pack of friends, a family of many, a church group. We have heard of people who die of depression, people who commit suicide despite receiving attention and love from their friends and families. Admittedly, loneliness and depression are two different things (Waite et al. 142). However, those who are depressed can still be rescued if they reach out to others. Unfortunately, a good many do not. This is not to say that there are no people to reach out to. Instead, they tend to see themselves as ‘all alone’, that no one can help and that they have to find a solution by themselves. Many times, finding a solution ‘alone’ never ends well.

The point here is that, while the presence of others can help one out of feelings of loneliness, only the individual can get him/herself out of it. Loneliness is a feeling, a perception. Only the individual decides he/she is lonely, and only him/her can decide they are not lonely anymore. Loneliness is a psychological problem (Waite et al. 142)that can shut a person out of the real crowd around them.

This paper will examine ‘loneliness’: what it means and how it is different from social isolation. Ultimately, the goal is to show that loneliness can be even alongside social inclusion.

Works Cited

Szalavitz, Maia. Social Isolation, Not Just Feeling Lonely, May Shorten Lives, TIME,

March 26, 2013. Web, 12 June 2014

Waite, Linda, Hawkley, Louise & Thisted, Ronald. ‘Loneliness as a Specific Risk Factor

for Depressive Symptoms: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses’. Psychology and Aging, 21.1 (2006): 140-151. Print.

Windle, Karen, Francis, Jennifer & Coomber, Caroline. Preventing Loneliness and

Social Isolation: Interventions and Outcomes, Social Care Institute for Excellence: Research Briefing, 2013. Web, 12 June 2014