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Our youth loneliness epidemic is not all bad news

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Loneliness. It’s the buzzword in mental health these days, reportedly at plague-like levels, causing depression and anxiety en masse. And this week, a report from Swinburne University and VicHealth reinforced these views, citing one in four young Australian adults aged 18 to 25 reported feeling lonely for three or more days in the past week.

Such high levels of loneliness, the study stressed, increased a young adult's risk of developing depression by 12 per cent and social anxiety by 10 per cent.

Real loneliness cripples us, pulls us under and holds us there.Credit:iStock

Mental illness is not something ever to be taken lightly, and yes, these statistics are worrisome. However, I believe there should be some pause before panic here, a closer look at cause before cure. There is a difference between being lonely and alone, one which many young people may not yet understand or embrace.

For many - myself included - aloneness is a luxury, a time of self-reflection, restoration and resolve, a learned state that perhaps takes age to truly appreciate. For me, loneliness is likelier experienced in a crowded room than alone. I have had decades to deduce this is the case, to shed social pressure and succumb to solitude. Which, perhaps, helps partly explain why the youth figures are so high.

Prioritising peace and craving calm are........

© Brisbane Times