Salvation Army: Social connections key to fighting loneliness

Strength in numbers: Scott Ellery has urged the Mandurah community to get more socially connected to fight loneliness.

Strength in numbers: Scott Ellery has urged the Mandurah community to get more socially connected to fight loneliness.

“What is the biggest need down here in Mandurah?”

That was the question that I asked long time Mandurah icon and community worker Reg Lambert when I first arrived in Mandurah in January this year. I think his response to me was spot on.

“The biggest need down here is a sense of community, a place to belong. The biggest issue in Mandurah is so many people are lonely. Loneliness leads people to dark places which causes many other issues. If you can work towards combating loneliness, you would be meeting a lot of need,” Lambert said.

It’s true isn’t it? Loneliness is an increasing problem in modern life. A survey by Lifeline Australia found that 60 per cent of people said they ‘often feel lonely’ – even if they lived with a partner.

Despite our world becoming more connected, more and more of us feel a growing sense of isolation.

The issue is that we are created for community. We are social beings. None of us wants to be lonely. No matter how you’re wired – introvert, extrovert, socially adept or socially awkward – something in your soul longs for meaningful relationships with other humans. We long to know others and be known by them.

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If you are feeling lonely, then can I encourage you to intentionally take practical steps to be more socially connected.

Go for a walk, join an exercise class, do your shopping. Just being in a public place can help alleviate feelings of isolation.

Organise a time to catch-up with a friend for coffee and then make it a regular thing. If they don’t call you, call them, they might be feeling lonely too.

Get in touch with a local charity and see how you can help (the Salvo’s are always on the lookout!). Find out what the Mandurah library, local sporting club or TAFE have on offer. Go to church, you’re always welcome at mine (10am Sunday)! 

We can only be fully alive, and live a balanced, growing and healthy life when we are in community with others. May you experience life in all its fullness.

  • Scott Ellery is Senior Pastor at The Salvation Army Mandurah