loneliness and mental health
Feeling lonely from time to time is a common experience, but some people have a deep feeling of loneliness that does not go away. Feeling lonely does not necessarily mean you are alone, many people who experience loneliness can be surrounded by friends and family and have active social lives. The feeling of loneliness can be amplified if you feel like the people in your social circle do not understand you.
Mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can amplify the feeling of loneliness. For example, if you are struggling with your mental health you may avoid taking part in activities that you usually enjoy which can contribute towards feeling lonely. What’s more, experiencing loneliness for a prolonged period of time may result in experiencing symptoms of these mental health problems. For example, if you are experiencing loneliness, you may withdraw from social activities which can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
What causes loneliness?
Mental health problems can cause you to experience loneliness, but there are other factors that can also contribute to feelings of loneliness such as:
- Experiencing the loss of a loved one
- Feeling like you are a burden to others
- Getting a new job
- Moving to a new area away from your community
- Being excluded from activities due to mobility problems
- Unable to afford social activities
Support during loneliness
There is not one cause of loneliness and everyone will experience the feeling of loneliness differently. It is important you recognise the symptoms of loneliness and seek support if you begin to experience them. There are many different ways to support yourself during loneliness and what works for someone might not work for you. Here are some examples of ways you can manage your loneliness:
- Don’t compare yourself: It is important to remember we don’t know what people are like behind closed doors, and we don’t always know how people are feeling.
- Spend time with animals: Through owning a pet or visiting animals, some people find these interactions can reduce the feeling of loneliness.
- Make new connections: Feelings of loneliness can be amplified if you have limited social interactions, try to join a class or group that are based on your interests.
- Reach out to a loved one: Talking to someone you trust about how you feel is invaluable. Confide in them about your experiences and feelings, and remember they love you and want to help you flourish.
Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.
Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at email@example.com or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.