A priest who used to lecture at University feels the problem of solitude has become so great it is also being experienced by youths.
Commenting to Television Malta, Fr René Camilleri stated that in certain cases this has become a social scourge and that there are some cases of persons suffering great solitude being driven to suicide.
Research carried out by the National Office for Statistics last year showed that 40% of people have often experienced or are experiencing solitude. According to Fr Camilleri, the problem is not only widespread among the elderly but is also spread among youth.
He said that anonymity means not knowing one’s neighbours, not knowing who lives above or below one because there is no contact with them.
In his opinion, personal relations are an individual’s oxygen and sometimes the lack of such oxygen is leading to cases of suicide.
Fr René is a member of a Board that will evaluate nominations for the Award of Initiative Against Solitude that is mounted by LyonsCare, a company that works among the elderly. The company’s CEO, Patrick Vella, appealed for creative ideas to help the elderly fight against solitude.
He said even a bench in a public square is highly valid because this draws people, helps them meet, discuss and gives them a sense of belonging and not feeling alone.
President George Vella described solitude as a new epidemic in the midst of a technological era. He appealed for society to give its contribution to help tackle the problem.
Submissions for the Initiative Against Solitude Award will close on 8th May.