Culture
20.6.18

Rotary Club Report Highlights Social Concerns

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Recently, Rotary International, the global network of 1.2 million people, released its annual State of the Nation report based on the findings of 1,500 adults living in Great Britain and Ireland. The yearly report examines the key social and community issues within today’s society and provides a barometer on how people view life compared with previous generations.

Mental health and loneliness

The research demonstrated the most pressing issue in today’s society is mental health, with 56% of respondents identifying this as more of a concern than either poverty and homelessness (each 48%). These issues were closely followed by crime (45%), care for the elderly (41%) and unemployment (38%). Interestingly, and possibly the most surprising finding is that 34% of participants identified a lack of opportunities for young people as being a major issue.

Explaining the alarming statistics around mental health, the findings also revealed that a substantial 92% of us feel bogged down by the stresses and strains of modern-day life. Almost a third of respondents said their work/life balance was poor, while a third said the burden to “have it all” made them feel under pressure.

Equally as surprising was that almost two-thirds of individuals admitted to feeling lonely, with the highest proportion of those affected between the ages of 16-29; these were followed closely by those aged 30-44. A potential contributing factor was that almost half of respondents (47%) admitted to not knowing their neighbour’s name. Perhaps, this can be seen as an indication of a lack of community spirit within today’s societies.

Rose-tinted spectacles

It is no surprise that individuals seemed to look at the past more favourably than the present. The report found that two-thirds of individuals perceive their standard of living nowadays to be worse than that of their parents’ generation. The findings showed that we believe it’s harder nowadays to manage our finances (42%), get on the property ladder (40%) and maintain a ‘job for life’ (40%). Almost half of the respondents (45%) imagined that people looked out for each other more in the past.

According to the research, the majority of us (84%) wish we were living in a simpler time where everyone was less materialistic. Respondents tended to believe their parents’ lives were better due to the absence of pressures from social media. For most Brits, the general consensus was that the 80s was the best decade to live in. Individuals saw the past as having a greater community spirit where people knew their neighbours, were more caring and held stronger morals. Also, individuals saw their parents’ finances as being in better shape and more people owned their own homes.

Rotary clubs in action

Rotary clubs nationwide have been working hard to tackle some of the wider social issues identified. Lately, Rotary has been carrying out local initiatives such as youth employment projects, food bank creation, community mental health support services and crime interventions. A further 200 additional clubs have been established over the past year to compensate for the increased societal challenges.

As the research demonstrates, the state of our mental health as a nation is an alarming one. Loneliness and stress can lead to a whole host of problems from mental to even physical illnesses such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Thankfully, Rotary clubs even serve as a support facility for those feeling lonely or isolated within the community. For more information on how you can get involved with your local club, visit https://www.rotary.org/en/get-involved.

Global Seven News

Kiri O’Leary

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