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When was the last time you asked your colleague how they are really doing?

27 September 2023

Do you remember those online team meetings that were specifically set up to talk about your weekend? Or the walks, at a distance of one and a half meters, organised by and for colleagues? We don't like to look back on COVID-19 times, but back then, the emphasis was very much on maintaining contact, everyone's well-being, and combating loneliness. These days, daily life  is taking over once again, often at the expense of contact or connecting with each other. When was the last time you asked your colleague how they are really doing?

The statistics are telling: almost half of Dutch adults experience feelings of loneliness. Almost one in seven people experiences a strong sense of loneliness (source). Loneliness is also prevalent among students. Nearly 80% of students in the Netherlands feel lonely to some extent (RIVM, 2021).

National Loneliness Awareness Week
To draw attention to feelings of loneliness, the national Loneliness Awareness Week begins on 28 September 2023. This week is an initiative by ‘One against Loneliness’. Loneliness is an experience that occurs in all layers of society but is different for everyone. It's not visible from the outside whether someone feels lonely, and many people are hesitant to admit it.That's why it's important to be alert to signs that may indicate loneliness. So, occasionally, ask a colleague or student how they are doing, or invite a colleague for a cup of coffee now and then. Together, we can make loneliness a topic of discussion and take action to address it.

Leiden University against loneliness
In order to support her staff and students,  Leiden University is organising various activities and initiatives as part of Loneliness Awareness Week, which lasts until 4 October. We warmly invite you to participate in one or more of these activities. Read more about the events organised by Leiden University and how you can register. (only in Dutch)

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