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The Japanese government has appointed a minister for loneliness to deal with issues brought about by the coronavirus, among things. The British government also appointed such a minister. Is loneliness something a government can deal with?

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I think governments can, but how they can effectively manage will be difficult to determine. This is just my unprofessional opinion here, but I think countries that do well in tending to the mental health of its population would do well in curbing loneliness and other mental stresses the pandemic brought along with it. And, well, considering Japan's stellar performance in addressing the mental health of its citizens even during the pre-pandemic era, I think it would take some time before the government can do anything effective. But hey, prove me wrong.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Loneliness or solo life is and will definitely become a big social issue as the marriage rate and family numbers have been declining. Most crucially, many of Japan's state-led programs (subsidy to taxation) assume the nuclear family as vast majority and core unit. There single individuals are "out of categories" and tend to be undertreated if not discriminated.

What the state can do is only budget earmarking while leaving detail works to local and communal levels. The government can hardly take a nationwide and unitary approach as loneliness situations vary across the country.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Don't they have a Doctor Phil, Oprah, or Ann Landers here?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

As a single person who's lived alone for the past 25 years, I can only say this is a joke, right?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Yes. Loneliness is a cause of mental and physical health issues and shortens life expectancy. It’s a social and public health issue and governments and communities can help those who are lonely, especially those who are vulnerable.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sure for now a quick solution for many of the cases is to move their slow butts and get everyone vaccinated so we can go back to offices, schools, restaurants, bars, clubs, and a whole host of social activities.

Once most people are back to normal socialising the number of people who will still need help will be far fewer.

My daughter's work cannot be done from home, so she takes every precaution, but because she lives with me and her brother that means none of us take any chances to go visit her 90 plus years old grandparents who are still not vaccinated, compare that to back in my country where not only are my 80 year old parents vaccinated but also my brother and his wife who are 60.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, gov't cannot even keep our bridges and roads repaired.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In short, no.

@TrevorPeace... well said!

@kyushubill... spot on!

The government is not responsible for people's happiness or in this case loneliness. This is a personal and familial issue.

If you agree this is the government's responsibility, then ask yourself, "Is the government also responsible for finding me a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse?"

Naturally nearly all people would reply, "of course not."

The best they can do is have a low deductible for going to the psychiatrist if one requires professional help to overcome their loneliness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll fill in the details:

Tetsushi Sakamoto was appointed almost two months ago, in February. He is a member of the Ultra Conservative Nippon Kaigi (bring back the Emperor as head of state and eliminate Article 9 of the Constitution to build a new Imperial military under the monarchy). He's a typical LDP politician. Perhaps the goal is to put all of the lonely people into the military?

It's rumored that his office is at the end of the hall and no one goes in there. He's pretty lonely.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

PTSD is apparent in a great majority of the population here, manifesting itself in a myriad of ways: ‘bullying, sexual assaults, failure at ‘basic’ inter-social skills, isolation. Sadly, there is NO “Ministry of Mental Health”, something direly needed.

Seeking mental health counseling here is still a great ‘taboo’ @kansaidroid 8:31p

- “The best they can do is have a low deductible for going to the psychiatrist if one requires professional help to overcome their loneliness.” -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The idea of official recognition the widespread problem of loneliness is to be commended. However, as Peter Neill points out, the appointee is perhaps not an inspired choice for the job.

Japan (like any country) has lonely people. And that was long before the pandemic. Domestic and resident. As for the latter, it's very easy to become isolated, not just from moving to another country, but through health issues, lack of confidence, disillusionment, etc.

Their are whole communities on the internet. Some provide much needed support for their members, and some foster hatred towards perceived enemies.

It would be great to see more communities where people could come together and beat the loneliness, but sadly, loneliness often produces mischief makers, or exacerbates certain tendencies. Something we've all seen over the last year or so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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