Loneliness is a big concern in the Health and Community Services sector, as essential social distancing measures have us cooped up at home.
In these uncertain and upsetting times, there’s one (very Aussie) thing that keeping us going: community. We might not be able to get together like we used to, but the community vibe is still strong in Australia. And that’s thanks, in part, to online resources like Nextdoor.com.
If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or sever loneliness, we encourage you to access allied health services such as telehealth counsellors.
What is Nextdoor.com?
Nextdoor is a website and app that forms a private social network between neighbours. Similar to a local Facebook group, but way more secure and with bigger potential, Nextdoor is helping people find solace and security to overcome the loneliness of social distancing.
In a world where we can connect instantly across the world, but don’t know our neighbours well enough to ask them to borrow a ladder, Nextdoor is one of a few services helping people feel less alone.
Loneliness in your community
50% of Aussies feel lonely at least 1 day a week, and 1 in 4 feel lonely for 3 or more days. Loneliness is a growing concern all over the world. And it’s only getting more severe during COVID lockdowns.
The “new face” of loneliness in Australia
Most people probably think loneliness is a problem reserved for older people, or Aussies in regional communities. But this pandemic is most strongly affecting 18-25-year-olds who suddenly find themselves cut off from social interaction and uncertain about the future.
It’s not just community support workers and allied health professionals (counsellors, aged carers, mental health professionals) who are worried. App developers and the tech community, like the people who created Nextdoor in 2008, are focussed on bringing people together in healthy ways to combat loneliness.
Why Nextdoor is so popular right now
The app experienced a huge spike in downloads over the past few weeks. People are using it to:
- Lend a hand in their community
- Connect with neighbours they might not know
- Share local news and updates
- Arrange (socially distanced) gatherings
- Ask for, or offer, essential items
Apps like Nextdoor take some of the pressure off the Health and Community Services sector. The app can’t replace a qualified allied health practitioner, but it can create genuine local connections and lighten the burden of loneliness.
And right now, that’s exactly what Australia needs.