The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on a new strategy to tackle loneliness and isolation in Scotland – one of the first in the world.
Views are being sought on the draft plan to address the causes of isolation, as well as suggestions for how communities can build on work by the Scottish Government to deal with the problem and ensure those at risk have access to support.
Isolation can affect anyone, but it is particularly associated with old age and with mobility or mental health problems.
As many as 100,000 older people are lonely and isolated, according to Age Scotland, and the charity had been calling for a national strategy that would coordinate responses.
Launching the draft strategy and consultation on a visit to the Hidden Gardens Project in Pollokshields, Freeman said: “Social isolation and loneliness can affect anyone – at all ages and stages of life.
“We know there is also a link between loneliness and poor physical and mental health and that this can impact on everyday life.
“We are leading the way when it comes to tackling this and will be the first country in the UK and one of the first in the world to develop a national strategy to address loneliness and isolation.”