Loneliness and Mental Health

Loneliness and Mental Health

The Government has asked everyone in the UK to stay at home to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the most vulnerable. During this time, many of us will miss seeing family and friends and doing the things we love – for some, this period of isolation is a regular experience.

Staying at home with limited human contact can impact our mental health and at times make us feel lonely. When we think about being lonely and loneliness we often think about older people, but loneliness can affect people of all ages.

1. Recognise your feelings

You may feel down and brush it off or not quite know what has caused it. Sometimes there aren’t any particular reasons why you feel blue, but if you can identify your low mood and link it to being alone, you can start to put into action these tips to help overcome feeling alone.

2. Staying in touch

As the saying goes ‘it’s good to talk’ – so making sure we stay in touch with family, friends and neighbours could help ease the feelings of loneliness.

Just picking up the phone, sending a message or making a video call, could make a real difference to someone’s day. Share how you are feeling, ask how they are and share activities you have been doing at home. You can use technology to stay connected to your loved ones through online groups and apps.

If you are struggling with loneliness or your mental health, there are lots of support groups available or your GP may be able to provide support with your mental health via a telephone appointment.

3. Helping each other

Get to know your neighbours. This will create a sense of community and can be a real support to someone in need. If possible, offer to help with shopping, run errands or sign up to Nextdoor ‘the neighbourhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services’.

Or why not look at the Mental Health Foundation about ‘random acts of kindness during the Coronavirus outbreak’.

4. Helping yourself

Constantly watching the news during these uncertain times, could have a negative impact on your mental health, therefore limiting the amount of time spent might be useful.

Distraction techniques can also help reduce isolation and loneliness, so now might be the time to get on with the things you haven't had time to do before. Or why don’t you try reading something new or bake something you've not made before. The sense of achievement can help boost your mental well-being, as well as passing the time.

5. Further links

Stay up to date with the latest health guidance on the NHS website.

Seek help and advice from support groups such as Mind, Young Minds, Age UK and Campaign to End Loneliness. Remember, there is always support out there and there are always things that can be done. Being lonely is easily overcome and it isn’t a forever feeling.

You can also read some of our similar articles on mental health such as spotting the signs of depression in men and where to get support.

Published on 24 April 2020