New tool assesses the impact of initiatives against loneliness

Loneliness is an escalating issue in Denmark. Economists Without Borders, Copenhagen Economics, and Impactly have recently introduced Ensomhed i Tal (in English: Loneliness in Numbers), a tool designed to assist organisations in calculating the socioeconomic benefits of their initiatives.

Approximately 600,000 Danes over the age of 16 experience feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is linked to an annual cost of around DKK 193 billion to society, encompassing increased healthcare expenses, higher unemployment rates, more sick days, and reduced well-being.

Fortunately, numerous organisations are actively working each day to alleviate loneliness through social endeavours. They do, however, often struggle to estimate and effectively communicate the tangible benefits of their efforts due to the complexity and time-consuming nature of the calculations involved.

Ensomhed i Tal, developed by Copenhagen Economics, Economists Without Borders, and Impactly, aims to provide organisations with an opportunity to quantify the socioeconomic benefits of their initiatives in concrete terms.

“We understand that a social initiative that reduces loneliness and enhances individuals’ quality of life impacts the individuals themselves and generates economic benefits for society. Therefore, we shall also begin to value what we value, such as friendships and communities. Ensomhed i Tal makes it simpler for social actors to calculate and report the socioeconomic benefits of their efforts. This emphasises the tremendous importance of these actors in combating loneliness”, stated Adna Husagic, Board Member of Economists Without Borders.

Research has demonstrated significant socioeconomic benefits associated with reducing loneliness, including reduced healthcare costs and fewer sick days, among other factors. The tool calculates the socio-economic impact that can be expected from different types of initiatives based on reputable literature, as well as values from the Open Social Value Bank initiative, which quantifies the socio-economic value of increased well-being.

“The purpose of this initiative was to create a tool to support policymakers in making more informed funding decisions when combatting the significant issue of loneliness. In collaboration with our partners, the result is an online tool which is based on a thorough review of literature on the subject and can be used by any organisation seeking to tackle loneliness”, explained Tuomas Haanperä, Partner at Copenhagen Economics.

“To eradicate loneliness, user-friendly tools are necessary to shed light on the effectiveness of loneliness initiatives. That is why we at Impactly are proud of Ensomhed i Tal and our participation in the National Partnership Against Loneliness, as we contribute to making it possible to document the results of loneliness initiatives using budgetary terms, a language that decision-makers can better comprehend and act upon”, expressed Johan Dubert, CEO of Impactly.