Is being alone the same as being lonely?

The UK appointed a Minister for Loneliness last week - amidst concerns of a growing 'epidemic of loneliness' sweeping the UK. What does it meant to be lonely? Is being alone the same as being lonely? Can you be alone and not feel lonely? And what are some of the effects of loneliness? Do we really need a minister to support this? If so, what is going wrong in our society to cause these issues?

Read more here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2018/01/21/uk-has-a-minister-of-loneliness-this-is-how-bad-loneliness-has-gotten/#45ac958d6cc5