As well as looking at the effects of spending too much time online can have on young people, the study highlighted key triggers that can cause loneliness for everyone, with pregnancies, bereavement, divorce, health issues and retirement all found to have negative affects on people’s mental health.
According to the research, 18% of people are always or often lonely, with 73% of these people having experienced at least one of the above events. Perhaps more worryingly, 75% of people who said they were always or often lonely said they don’t know where to go to get the support they need.
The isolation we have all faced during the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has also seen numbers of those struggling with loneliness rise, so what can we do to try and help?
92% of people think communities have a role to play in supporting people experiencing loneliness. At our training centre, regular classes such as our arts and crafts sessions or volunteer forums have been mentioned as a great way of feeling a sense of togetherness and belonging, as explained by Volunteer Services Manager Esther Douglas.
“First and foremost, the classes give people something to look forward to throughout the week,” she explained. “Because of the pandemic, the whole country has felt lonelier and more isolated from our families and friends than ever before. Whilst we still can’t run our sessions at full capacity, even seeing a few faces once or twice a week can be a huge positive for many people.”
With the cold nights of winter fast approaching and the ongoing uncertainty over jobs showing no signs of letting up, check up on your friends and families and try to engage with them in an informal setting to give them the face-to-face contact they might need.
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[Cover image via @BritishRedCross ]