Loneliness is the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week
Loneliness is now affecting more of us in the UK and has had a great impact on our wellbeing during the pandemic. The purpose is to raise awareness of what impact loneliness has on our mental health and what steps can be taken to address this. If we reduce loneliness this will result in a mentally healthy society.
As people we rely on safe, secure, and social surroundings to survive and succeed. When we are lonely, we can become vulnerable, and this can take a toll on us physically and mentally.
A person can feel lonely at times, but when this is long term, it can have a detrimental impact on our mental health. Loneliness can be different for all of us, it can cause us distress affecting our self-worth and a wanting to belong, especially if these feelings have lasted a long time. Some research has identified that loneliness can cause an increased risk of certain mental health illnesses for example, depression, anxiety, and increased stress.
Loneliness can be caused by many reasons, for some people certain life events can mean that a person feels lonely such as:-
- Relationship breakdown
- Retirement, losing social contact that a person had at work
- Starting a new job
During the pandemic loneliness was at its peak, everyday relationships were disconnected, and people felt isolated.
What can we do during Mental Health Week?
- Take the time to get in touch with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to for a while
- Share our own stories, this can help reduce the stigma around loneliness
- In support of Mental health awareness week, walk, run, jog 80 miles in May
How can we beat loneliness?
- Get active, helps produce endorphins, promotes positive feelings and being in nature can have a calming effect.
- Practice self-kindness
- Take up a new hobby, consider joining a group where you can meet people who have similar interests.
- Volunteer for a local charity this can help make meaningful connections with people whilst establishing a sense of purpose.
It is important that we find a connection with ourselves, others, and the world around us. This is paramount to protect our mental health and also reduce the feelings of loneliness.