1 October 2018

Role of Social Media in Perpetuating Loneliness is 'Unsurprising', Says RCGP

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to a BBC study on loneliness, which found that 16-24-year-olds experience loneliness more often than any other age group.

She said: "Loneliness is often seen as something that affects elderly people, but actually it can affect anyone and any point in their lives, as this study has shown.

"Online friends and communities can be a source of support for some people, but often these links are more superficial than genuine 'offline' friendship where more meaningful connections occur, so it is unsurprising to hear that these don't always make people feel less lonely.

"The College has been vocal in highlighting the impact that loneliness and social isolation can have on patients' long-term health and wellbeing. We have produced action plans in all four nations of the UK, including a call for every GP practice to have access to a funded and dedicated social prescriber to signpost patients to services in the community for problems that are impacting on their health but are not necessarily medical.

"Social media can also perpetuate unrealistic expectations for people to live up to and this can certainly have an impact on people's mental health and wellbeing. To this end, we welcome the Health Secretary's recent call for guidelines to be developed for social media use for children and young people."

Further Information
RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.