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43% Of Kiwi Men Feel Disconnected From Friends | nib Survey

12 Jun 2023

nib New Zealand (nib) found in a survey that 43% of Kiwi men sometimes feel isolated, out of the loop or disconnected from friends, and this feeling of loneliness is greatest for younger men (63%) between the ages of 18 – 34. (1)

This Men’s Health Week (12 – 18 June), a video featuring nib’s Mental Fitness Champion Jimi Hunt, along with Blues players Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata and Tom Robinson will be released across nib’s social channels to address the issue of male loneliness and promote team sports as a great way to make meaningful connections.

The video addresses statistics that show men, particularly young men, struggle with loneliness.

“Research from the UK found that 32% of men don’t have a best friend compared to only 25% of women, and that men are also more reluctant to admit these feelings of loneliness (2). Closer to home, nib’s survey found two in five Kiwi men sometimes feel isolated from their friends and this is an even bigger issue for younger men,” Mr Hunt said.

“We know that chronic loneliness increases the risk of mortality by 26%, on par with smoking and obesity (3). The good news is that it is preventable. Building strong social connections with others can protect us by boosting our mood, reducing stress, and building confidence.

“One easy way to build connections is through team sports, which is why we’ve teamed up with Blues players to ask them what friendship means to them. “We hope the Blues can serve as role models for positive male relationships and encourage everyone to reach out to their mates more often.”

Blues hooker Kurt Eklund said: “One of the positives from having mates is knowing that there is always someone that I can talk to. If I’m having a tough time, whether it be at work or outside training, I can depend on my mates for a good yarn.”

Mr Hunt said that if team sports aren’t your thing, joining community groups of like-minded people, accepting social invitations when asked, or even inviting yourself are great options to help reduce loneliness.

nib New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Rob Hennin, said it’s important to have these discussions, not only during Men’s Health Week, so that more men might feel comfortable reaching out to their friends and family, or health services for support.

“Our research supported international findings that young men are particularly at risk of feelings of loneliness, which can lead to more serious health concerns. By shining a spotlight on this little talked about issue, we hope we can encourage more men to speak up and reach out when they’re experiencing these feelings so they can get the support they need to live happier, healthier lives,” Mr Hennin said.

(1) Survey conducted by Clarity Research between 26- 28 May 2023 with a sample of n=480

(2) Survey conducted by YouGov between 15 - 16 August 2019 with a sample of n=2149

(3) Kerr & Stanley 2021, Revisiting the social stigma of loneliness