Families affected by the kidnap of a loved one often suffer extreme loneliness, not only because their loved one is absent, but also because they may not be able to discuss what has happened with anyone other than very close family, creating a feeling of isolation. This loneliness is compounded by the anxiety they experience about their loved one.
Interestingly, the UK government has recently launched the first cross-government strategy for combatting loneliness. As part of the strategy, GPs in England will be able to prescribe community activities and voluntary services, in addition to relevant medication, to patients suffering from loneliness. Research indicates that up to a fifth of adults feel lonely in the UK and the phenomenon can be a leading factor in affecting mental and physical health.
Hostage International hopes that this recognition of the impact of loneliness on a person’s wellbeing will improve support for lonely people. Friends and family can help their lonely loved one, friend or neighbour by being a non-judgemental listening ear, reading up on tips for providing support and referring them to their GP or relevant organisation.
You can read ‘A connected society: A strategy for tackling loneliness’ here.