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Avoiding social isolation

People experience social isolation for a variety of reasons such as discrimination, lack of employment, being homeless or generally being in situations where they feel like their ideas and opinions are not valued.

Social isolation can lead to very serious mental and physical health risks.

Effects of social isolation might include:

To reduce or avoid feeling socially isolated you should:

Groups that are most commonly identified as being vulnerable to, or most at risk of, social isolation include:

Seniors

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • living alone
  • relocation
  • loss of income as a result of reduced work capacity or retirement
  • losing a loved one or friends due to death or relocation
  • inability to participate in activities due to access issues, mobility, illness or transport.

Where to get help

  • Check out our website for seniors to find out more about looking after yourself, things to do, getting involved with your community, and social support.
  • Talk to your GP – they can offer assistance and referrals to services.
  • Contact Queensland Seniors Enquiry Line for assistance with information regarding social activities, financial matters, transport and many other issues related to seniors.
  • Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland connects seniors with networks and resources to enhance their lives.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for assistance and counselling.

Youth

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • homelessness
  • cyberbullying
  • substance misuse by a parent/guardian/carer
  • suffering the effects of trauma
  • peer pressure to in engage in risky behaviours, including consumption of illegal substances
  • poor physical health, including obesity
  • mental illness
  • fears of physical safety when with peers
  • educational disadvantage.

Where to get help

  • Check out our website for young people to find out more about looking after yourself, things to do, getting involved with your community, and social support.
  • Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for assistance and counselling.
  • Boystown services for youth include counselling, job services, training, education, family refuges and help with parenting.
  • Check out the Headspace website or visit a Headspace centre for health advice, support and information for young people across Queensland.
  • PCYC Queensland offers a diverse range of sport and recreation opportunities for young people, as well has crime prevention and youth development programs and indigenous programs.
  • Youth Affairs Network Queensland represents individuals and organisations from Queensland's youth sector.

People with a disability

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • lack of supportive family and social networks
  • being ignored and not accepted by others and the wider community 
  • having limited community facilities and opportunities to engage in social activities  
  • transport and financial issues which can decrease access to social venues and events  
  • community reinforcement of negative stereotypes of people with disabilities.

Where to get help

  • Check out our website for people with disability to find out more about looking after yourself, things to do, getting involved with your community, and social support.
  • Talk to your support staff – they can offer assistance or provide some options on where/how to get assistance.
  • Connect2Group provides development of people with disability through delivering a personalised and collaborative approach for all aspects of an individual with disability, including employment and community connectedness.
  • National Ethic Disability Alliance advocates at the federal level for the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background with a disability, their families and carers so that they can participate fully in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life.
  • My Community Directory is a mental health services directory for the Brisbane region.
  • Australian Red Cross offers a range of programs to address the issues of social inclusion and disability, including services for homelessness and mental health.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • lack of supportive social networks and relationships
  • positive HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) status
  • socioeconomic inequalities
  • trauma associated with medical examinations, treatment and, for some, recurrent surgical interventions
  • negative body image and problems with sexual intimacy associated with genital difference
  • discrimination, harassment and violence
  • community reinforcement of negative LGBTI stereotypes
  • limitations and exclusion from access to education, healthcare or social services, housing and employment.

Where to get help

  • National LGBTI Health Alliance is the national peak health organisation in Australia for LGBTI people and communities.
  • Positive Directions is a coordination, information and referral service for people living with HIV in Queensland.
  • Open Doors Youth Service supports, values and celebrates young people who have diverse genders and/or sexualities.
  • Call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 for support and assistance from trained professionals.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • being unfamiliar with services and systems
  • lack of cultural understanding and sensitivity by mainstream services and the wider community
  • suffering the effects of trauma
  • discrimination, vilification and violence on the basis of race
  • racist graffiti or name-calling in public forums
  • community reinforcement of negative CALD stereotypes
  • limitations and exclusion from access to education, healthcare or social services, housing and employment as a result of language, religion or other cultural barriers
  • racism in the workplace
  • separated from family or friends
  • no established social networks if newly arrived.

Where to get help

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Some events that can lead to feelings of social isolation include, but are not limited to:

  • being unfamiliar and/or fearful with services and systems
  • lack of cultural understanding and sensitivity by mainstream services and the wider community
  • suffering the effects of trauma
  • discrimination, vilification and violence on the basis of race
  • geographic isolation
  • community reinforcement of negative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stereotypes
  • limitations and exclusion from access to education, healthcare or social services, housing and employment as a result of language, or other cultural barriers
  • racism in the workplace.

Where to get help

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
12 July 2016

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