One in three Taiwan adults feel sense of loneliness: poll


TAIPEI — About one-third of Taiwan’s 18 million adults have felt a sense of loneliness over the past year, and their mental health has been less than ideal, a survey on the nation’s mental health published Tuesday showed.

Yang Tsung-tsai, who oversees the mental health index for the Mental Health Foundation, which commissioned the survey, said 32 percent of those polled had a sense of isolation, a feeling of lacking social connections and being neglected, and felt their mental health was less than ideal. ��The sense of loneliness has to do with employment, married life and living conditions,�� Yang said, noting that those who are looking for jobs, divorced, widowed, or living alone are at high risk of feeling lonely.

Though a third of respondents felt lonely, the overall mental health score of those surveyed was 83 points (80 is considered passing), higher than the last time the survey was done in 2012, Yang said.

Still, 36 percent of respondents did not think the future would be better, with people tending to be more pessimistic about the future the older they were.

In terms of personal health, respondents voiced dissatisfaction with their memory, sleep quality and overall health condition, while in terms of personal values, respondents said they had not achieved as much as hoped or used their abilities to the fullest extent possible.

Foundation chairman Hu Hai-kuo said people who have had a sense of loneliness over the past five years can be expected to have a higher rate of depression a year later.

Also, those feeling isolation are more likely to have suicidal thoughts a year down the road.

Commissioned by the foundation, the mental health index survey, conducted by Fu Jen Catholic University between Sept. 16 and Oct. 9, collected 1,068 samples of people over 20 years old. No margin of error was given. The survey is conducted every two years.