• ASX releases
  • Features
  • Gallery
  • Quick facts
  • Contact
  • About Medibank
  • Investor Centre
  • Media releases

    Australia’s most connected generation is also the most lonely

    Duration: | Size: 421.14 MB

    ● 39% of 16-34-year-olds are experiencing high levels of loneliness
    ● New season of We Are Lonely podcast launches 7 August
    ● Medibank forms strategic partnership with ReachOut to grow online support for young people
    ● Alongside Ending Loneliness Together, Medibank is supporting Loneliness Awareness Week

    Loneliness continues to impact one in three people across Australia, with young adults in particular feeling more isolated. Medibank’s 4th We Are Lonely Index revealed that over two thirds (72%) of 16–34-year-olds felt lonely on one or more days during a typical week, while 39% report experiencing high levels of loneliness. *

    While loneliness is a normal emotion, chronic loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health and can lead to long-term health implications. It has the same impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day*, increases the risk of premature death by 26%** and is associated with chronic conditions like cancer***.

    To help address this, Medibank is launching a new series of its popular We Are Lonely podcast, which follows four very different people in their 20’s on their search for connection. Holly disconnected from her friends after experiencing PTSD due to a 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; while Aleks prioritises work over spending time with the people he loves. Their stories highlight the reality of loneliness in Australia, as experienced by a generation that theoretically has never been more connected.

    Each are 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.

    As well, Medibank has 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 Wellbeing and Community and member of the advisory board of Ending Loneliness Together Karen Oldaker says the podcast and ReachOut relationship are part of Medibank’s 10-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.

    As part of our third year partnering with Ending Loneliness Together, Medibank is supporting Australia's first loneliness awareness week Lonely, Not Alone which aims to help raise awareness of loneliness and ways to address it.

    We Are Lonely participants

    24-year-old Tim is a young gay man from mixed Asian and Australian background, who had built a close community centred around his life, uni, drag, LGBTQIA+ culture, and gaming. But after moving from Perth to Melbourne during COVID, he struggled to maintain connections and became overly reliant on gaming.

    Mentor - Sean Szeps is best known for sharing stories about parenting and mental health and about being queer, He has his own podcast and popular Instagram channel and has written a book about his experience as a queer dad.

    Charity is 25 and living in Coffs Harbour on Gumbaynggirr Country. She used to have sense of family and people coming together when she was younger, but now feels she needs to work on her confidence to build connections with others. Charity’s lack of confidence leads her to feel anxious when socialising and as a result she often hides away from others.

    Mentor - Dr Deirdre (Dee) Anderson AM is recognised worldwide for her mentoring and support of elite athletes and has worked with some of Australia’s sports superstars including Ian Thorpe and Cathy Freeman.

    Holly is 24 years old and lives down the coast of Victoria. After finishing VCE, Holly experienced significant trauma and as a result she developed PTSD, becoming ill. Bed-ridden, Holly became isolated and disconnected, leaving her severely lonely. Now she has recovered, Holly needs to build back connections.

    Mentor – Tessa Blencowe is a counsellor and author based in Wollongong, and the founder of international exhibition, Lonely Together, an immersive installation designed to reduce the shame and stigma that surrounds loneliness. She is passionate about helping people develop self-awareness.

    26-year-old Aleks is a philosophy student and content creator based in Melbourne. Aleks’ commitments to several different self-guided projects, including hosting a podcast, teaching a philosophy course, writing, and making videos, has meant that he often spends lots of time alone.

    Mentor - Barry Conrad is a singer, songwriter and actor, born and raised in South Africa. Passionate about mental health, he is an ambassador for RUOK and speaks openly about his own experiences.

    Listen to the Medibank We Are Lonely podcast on Spotify and Apple Music.
    For more information, and to watch a preview visit We Are Lonely

    About the research
    • 55% of people in Australia felt lonely in a typical week (56% in 2022)
    • 1 in 3 people (32%) are classified with high levels of loneliness on the UCLA scale (35% in 2022)
    • 39% of 16–34-year-olds experience high levels of loneliness
    • 72% of 16–34-year-olds said they felt lonely on at least one day or more in a typical week

    Research commissioned by FiftyFive5 on behalf of Medibank. Research was conducted in July 2023, among a sample of (n=1,298) Australians.
    *High-level loneliness is categorised as a person who scores 52points+ on the UCLA scale

    *1 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/social-isolation-and-loneliness-covid-pandemic
    **2 Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation (hhs.gov)
    ***3 https://endingloneliness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Ending-Loneliness-Together-in-Australia_Nov20.pdf

    Keep reading