Loneliness is a growing problem, especially amongst young people. Two renowned thinkers discuss the issue of loneliness in modern society: what is it, how is it perceived, and how do we alleviate it?

Julian Baggini, one of Britain’s best-known philosophers, will consider the stigma attached to being solitary. He will question whether our view of loneliness – often coloured by shame and embarrassment – has eclipsed the positive aspects of being on one’s own: its potential to enrich the inner life, unlock creative energies, and open a space for reflection. While there is no doubt that loneliness is painful, Baggini will ask whether we should aim to eradicate it entirely, or whether our approach to isolation must involve more compassion and acceptance.

Joining him in conversation is Dr Fay Bound Alberti, author of A Biography of Loneliness and historian at the University of York. Alberti will argue that loneliness is a historically recent phenomenon which only came into existence during the 19th century. Before then, being alone did not carry the same sense of emotional hardship – a situation which began to change with the rise of individualism and the breakdown of social communities. In deciding how to combat loneliness, Alberti will claim that it is a tangible, physical experience, and that we must deal with its effect on the body as well as the mind.

This free event will be chaired by Lindsay Mackie, Guardian journalist and partner at The New Weather Institute. It will take place in Oxford Town Hall on July 8th at 7:00pm and all are welcome. You can sign-up to attend through eventbrite.

If you are worried about loneliness and other mental health issues in the young people that you work with, then Oxfordshire Youth holds regular Mental Health Awareness training sessions. For more information and to register for an upcoming course, check out our Mental Health page.