In August 2023, Australia had its first-ever Loneliness Awareness Week, the result of
a growing body of evidence indicating that loneliness is a significant societal issue
requiring attention. Australia is not alone.
Many other countries have come to the same realisation. The Covid-19 pandemic
contributed to an increase in the number of people experiencing loneliness and
social isolation, and highlighted the risks that isolation can pose within our society.
The pandemic also brought to light specific groups who are at greater risk of feeling
lonely and isolated, eg people who live alone, older people and people with
disability. Some of these suffered greatly under the restrictions imposed during the
pandemic; many extended some of these restrictions further to protect themselves.
Given this broader context, we have chosen to focus this paper on social isolation and
loneliness as experienced by people living with disability. As a group, they experience
loneliness and social isolation at greater rates than people without disability.1