Scientific Program / 5th July / Plenary Session 09:00 - 10:30

Language: English, with translation into German, Italian and French 

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Loneliness and mental health

Emeritus Prof. Diego DE LEO

Main hall theatre / From 9:00 to 9:45


Diego De Leo

Diego De Leo is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatryat Griffith University in Brisbane, where is Director Emeritus of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention. Professor De Leo is Past President of the International Associationfor Suicide Prevention and co-founder and Past President of the International Academy for Suicide Research of which he co-founded the journal Archives of Suicide Research. Prof. De Leo is the Editor Emeritus of the journal Crisisand has been the initiator of the World Suicide Prevention Day (2003). Presently, he is Vice-President of the Italian Psychogeriatric Association, head of the Slovene Centre for Suicide Research, and director of the Department of Psychology, University of Primorska, Slovenia. 



Loneliness and Mental Health

Loneliness has recently jumped to scholars’ attention due to a number of longitudinal studies’ results, showing its impact on health and quality of life of individuals. These evidences brought the UK Government to the appointment of a dedicated ministry. A number of other governments published national reports on this frightening phenomenon and its growing diffusion. All of these initiatives have stimulated the need for better knowledge on loneliness and its consequences on physical and mental health on different gender and age groups. So far, most attention has been dedicated to the problem of older adults; the Italian Psychogeriatric Association has dedicated the date of 15 November of every year to an “End Loneliness Day”. However, younger individuals seem also to appear very vulnerable to loneliness; the extreme isolation of Hikikomori people may well represent its peak representation. This presentation will particularly deal with the mental health side of the phenomenon, emphasising in particular influences on suicidal behaviour, possibly the most extreme consequence of thwarted belongingness. Today, raising awareness on the seriousness of loneliness for an individual’s health and wellbeing appears today of paramount importance. Actions need to be taken at different levels to counteract the consequences of loneliness.