We live in a world where we are constantly connected through technology. Yet many of us feel more lonely than ever.
From a fear of missing out when we see friends having fun on social media to being surrounded by people but feeling like we have no one to talk to: loneliness can affect everyone at different times in our lives.
We know that loneliness can often underpin and exacerbate many mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety and suicide.
If you're feeling lonely, you are not alone. In fact, according to a report published by the government, between 6% and 18% of people in the UK say they often feel lonely. In a nation of nearly 68 million people, that’s a lot of people feeling this way.
There are many reasons you might feel alone at different times in your life. Whether you're moving to a new school or job, feeling disconnected from friends you’ve known for a long time, losing a friend or loved one, going through a break up, fearing social rejection or recovering from an illness - the reasons vary for everyone.
What to do when you feel lonely
It’s important to remember that you are not alone, even if you feel like you have no one to talk to.
Here are some tips for things you can do if you are feeling lonely:
- Listen to a podcast or audiobook where the hosts or characters are in conversation with each other
- Join an online or in-person group that focuses on a topic that interests you, like a book club or a local sports club. Connecting with other people through things you enjoy can be a great way to feel less alone
- Sign up for an online course. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, a new language or how to bake? The Open University has a range of free courses you could take, from health, sports and psychology to education, art and politics
- Write letters or postcards to friends and family, or send a text to check in
- Spend time in a public place around other people, such as going for a walk in a park
- Got a pet? Studies show that our furry friends can be a great motivator and have a positive impact on our mental and physical wellbeing and can make us feel valued and needed.
If you are feeling lonely or know someone who is, our Shout Volunteers are available 24/7 to listen and support you. Text 'SHOUT' to 85258 to start a conversation today.