UK Government Appoints Minister for Loneliness
British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed 42-year-old Tracey Crouch as the country's first Minister for Loneliness. She will continue the work started by Jo Cox, a Labour Party MP who was shot by a right-wing extremist in 2016.
According to a commission headed by Cox, about 9 million Britons feel some form of loneliness. Half of all people aged 75 and over live alone - about 2 million across the UK. Many of them go on for days and even weeks without communicating or talking to anyone else.
However, not only the elderly feel lonely. A growing number of younger adults, especially those who use social media heavily, are in danger of becoming lonely.
Doctors claim that feeling lonely raises the likelihood of suffering a premature death. It is even worse than smoking. People who are isolated for a longer period of time often do not seek help. They eat and exercise less, which can lead to increased blood pressure and heart disease. Loneliness is also associated with dementia and depression.
In addition to the creation of a new government ministry, the statistics department has received the task of working out a way of measuring loneliness. Theresa May has pledged to raise additional funds to deal with the issue.
Millions of people in the UK feel lonely at some time or other - Image: Bert Kaufmann
- according to = as reported by ...
- additional = extra
- appoint = to choose someone for a job or a government position
- associated with = connected to
- blood pressure = the force with which blood travels through your body
- claim = to say that something is true even if you cannot prove it
- dementia = illness that affects your brain and memory; it makes you unable to think clearly
- department = organisation inside the government that deals with certain problems
- depression = condition in which you feel sad and worried; you are often unable to lead a normal life
- especially = above all
- funds = money
- head = lead
- heart disease = when your heart gets weaker
- heavily = here: a lot
- however = but
- in addition = also
- increased = higher than normal
- isolated = away from other people
- issue = problem
- likelihood = how much something can be expected to happen
- loneliness = the feeling of being alone
- measure = calculate how much something is
- MP = member of British parliament
- pledge = promise
- premature death = when you die too soon; before you have to
- raise = go up
- raise = here: organise more money
- receive = get
- right-wing extremist = person who has radical conservative opinions and is willing to do violent things to achieve them
- seek = look for
- task = job