Charlie, a 54-year-old regular patient of your pharmacy, comes in with a prescription for varenicline. He discloses that his smoking has increased significantly since his divorce and that it escalated further during the isolation periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. His other medicines include amlodipine, atorvastatin and fluoxetine. You dispense the varenicline and ask that he join you in the private consulting room to have a chat about his new medicine.
Despite being the most technologically connected society in history, we appear to be the loneliest. Robust scientific evidence has declared loneliness a significant danger to the health of the individual and the public health system.1
Internationally, countries are recognising its significance. In 2018, London appointed a minister of loneliness and adopted a national loneliness strategy,2 and in 2021 Japan also appointed a minister of loneliness.1 The World Health Organization (WHO) has shared plans for the establishment of a global commission to address loneliness, including the development of a global index on social connection to help measure social connection around the world and allow progress of interventions to be tracked.3
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