fighting the loneliness epidemic: Parts of Sweden are facing a loneliness epidemic that the World Health Organization has described as an “urgent health threat”.
A professor of well-being, well-being, and happiness at the Stockholm School of Economics told the Guardian: “Loneliness and isolation is a big problem at any time of the year almost everywhere in the world right now.”
During the winter season, it’s more prominent because of “the times we live in, the lifestyles we have, that we don’t necessarily come together as much as we used to.”
“Before Covid, it was 50-50: some people greeted each other. But after Covid, people are more afraid to contact strangers,” suggested one local.
Since then the authorities have had to step in with a simple guideline for the people of Luleå to greet people on the street with the Swedish word “hej” meaning hello.
Säg hej! The campaign (say hello!) was suggested by Åsa Koski, who works at Luleå Municipality.
“We don’t just want Luleau to grow as a city, we want Luleo to be a welcoming, safe, friendly city with culture, leisure activities, and sports,” Koski explained. Feel “more seen and a little more like you.”
“Research shows that it affects health and often the willingness to help each other. If you say hello to your neighbors, you’re more likely to help them,” he told the publication.