LONELINESS is as bad for us as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases our risk of dementia.
There are more than 800,000 older people in England who are chronically lonely.
This can be caused by many things that can happen as we get older, including bereavement, ill health and sensory loss.
It is not too late for action to reduce loneliness.
In the next six months, new local forums for health and care officials will make decisions that could affect the future of these services.
These forums, known as health and wellbeing boards, are there to listen to us.
Loneliness Harms Health is a new campaign from the Campaign to End Loneliness, aiming to inspire people to urge health and wellbeing boards to act on loneliness.
They need local campaigners now.
As someone that cares about quality of life in older age, I encourage everyone to get involved in the campaign to ensure that local decision makers act on loneliness.
Autistic people need more help
Wednesday was World Mental Health Day.
A staggering 71% of children with autism also have a mental health problem, such as depression.
In addition, a third of adults with autism told us that they had developed a severe mental health problem as a result of a lack of support.
Yet autism is not a mental health problem, and people with autism can and do enjoy good mental health.
Given the right support, mental health problems can be prevented. All too often they either get no help at all or help is inappropriate or, on occasion, even harmful.
This has a devastating effect on families, many of whom develop their own mental health problems as a result.
The National Autistic Society is calling for this tragic waste of lives and money to stop.
We all need to know that by giving people with autism the understanding and support they need, we help promote their health and happiness.
Head of Policy
The National Autistic Society
Progress needs tough decisions
IF we want energy then we have to put up with power generation of some form and home-produced gas seems preferable to the uncertainty of imports.
The Industrial Revolution would never have got underway if NIMBYism had held sway at that time.
No coal mines would have ever been allowed and no railway network, which was the big factor in transforming Britain, would have been built.
Consequently very little progress would have been made and our modern life would have been quite different and much poorer.
We certainly could not have supported a population of much more than five million burning wood for fuel.
Perhaps NIMBYS should withdraw from modern life and go back to the good old days.
Name and address supplied