What is loneliness?
The Mental Health Foundation defines loneliness as: ‘the feeling we experience when there is a mismatch between the social connections we have and those that we need or want’.
Loneliness is different for everyone; it can be a feeling of isolation, or a lack of a support network.
We don’t need to have lots of friends to avoid feeling lonely. You many only have a small group of friends or family, but if they make you feel supported and loved this can reduce any feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness and the pandemic
The Mental Health Foundation reports that during the Covid-related lockdowns of the past few years, loneliness was almost 3 times that of pre-pandemic levels.
During this time, loneliness wasn’t experienced in the same way by everyone. People with long-term physical conditions, people on lower incomes, people with existing mental health problems, and older people who aren’t digitally connected are more likely to experience loneliness compared to the general UK population.
Loneliness and mental health
The relationships we have with our family, friends, colleagues, and community can affect our physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s important to reach out to your loved ones and get more support.
Here are some ideas about how you can get the support you need:
- If you’re feeling low, talk to a friend, family member, or your GP about how you’re feeling so they know how to best support you.
- If you need someone to talk to, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you’re looking to connect with new people, you could join a group or class that focuses on something you enjoy doing. This could be an art group, book club, exercise class, or a gardening group.
- You could also try getting out into nature, connecting with the outside world can give you a real boost.
If you need more support, we’re here for you. We provide free, confidential talking therapies that can help you if you’re feeling low or isolated.
No one should have to struggle alone with their mental health. We’re here to make sure they don’t.