Medibank releases its 'We Are Lonely Index' revealing impact on younger people

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Medibank says loneliness continues to impact one in three people across Australia, with young adults, in particular, feeling more isolated.

The company's fourth 'We Are Lonely Index' has revealed that over two-thirds (72 per cent) of 16 to 34-year-olds felt lonely on one or more days during a typical week, while 39 per cent report experiencing high levels of loneliness.

Chronic loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health and can lead to long-term health implications.

Medibank said it is launching a new series of its popular We Are Lonely podcast. The podcast follows four very different people in their twenties on their search for connection.

Holly disconnected from her friends after experiencing PTSD due to significant trauma. Tim moved from Perth to Melbourne just as everyone went into lockdown. Charity lost confidence in herself and suffers anxiety in social situations. Aleks prioritises work over spending time with the people he loves. 

Each is paired with a mentor and experts to help them build strategies to reconnect, and over six episodes, they explore why loneliness occurs, the importance of self-discovery, redefining friendships, the impacts of social media and technology and ways to connect.

Presented by 'The Psychology of your 20’s' host Jemma Sbeg, the podcast is supported with a range of information and resources on the We Are Lonely site.

Medibank has also formed a strategic partnership with online youth mental health and wellbeing service ReachOut, working together to grow their PeerChat program, a text-based chat platform designed to help young people feel less alone by connecting them to peer workers with lived experience. It is one of the many support options ReachOut offers young people, alongside their moderated online communities and tips, stories and resources designed to help young people feel better.

Medibank senior executive of wellbeing and community and member of the advisory board of Ending Loneliness Together, Karen Oldaker, said the podcast and ReachOut relationship are part of Medibank’s ten-year commitment to help address loneliness.

"Through sharing the experiences of Charity, Tim, Holly and Aleks, We Are Lonely aims to demystify loneliness by helping people learn how to understand and manage feeling lonely. And through our new partnership with ReachOut we hope to enable more young people feeling lonely to connect with someone and get support."