Tag Archives: mental health

Death by Loneliness: Laboratory mice, the U-shaped curve, and Antoine Roquentin

Who gets lonely?

As an academic psychologist, I find working with older adults illuminating for all sorts of reasons. It’s particularly interesting to learn what they won’t discuss. Loneliness seems to be a topic that people resist discussing. When asked about personal loneliness, the research participants that I interview often say evasive things, like “I know someone who is lonely, but I don’t feel lonely myself”. Most agree that it is a phenomenon, however, that is practically synonymous with old age. Most are surprised when I tell them about the many studies that find a second peak of loneliness – in young adulthood – which may even surpass old-age loneliness in severity. Yet more surprising to them is the apparent inseparability of loneliness and culture – different cultures have different social norms concerning relationships, expected social support, and as a result, loneliness. Continue reading

Mental Health and the Refugee Crisis

Refugee woman goes on the road with her suitcase

The current crisis in Syria has very explicitly brought the plight of refugees to global attention. Since 2011 over half of the population have been displaced, while around 8 million people have been internally displaced, a further 4 million registered refugees have left Syria and fled to neighbouring countries and beyond (UNHCR, 2015). One of the many challenges generated by this crisis is how host countries of refugee populations can respond to the health needs, and particularly mental health, of those who have fled the trauma and violence of events in Syria. Continue reading