It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 9-16 May 2022, run every year by the Mental Health Foundation focusing on improving good mental health. This year the theme is loneliness and how to tackle it.
Feeling lonely is something that all of us can experience at any point and can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
Sometimes admitting we feel lonely can be hard but it’s important to remember that many others experience feelings of loneliness too, and that this feeling can pass.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, people are encouraged to reach out to others to help someone who may be feeling lonely, which might in turn help you feel less lonely too.
Here is some practical advice and tips on how to help yourself or others if you or they are feeling lonely
- Keep in touch with those around you
Talk to friends and family. Sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference, whether someone is around the corner or further away.
Whether you choose to meet up in person, or chat on the phone, via video calls or on social media, all contact can help remind you that you are not alone.
- Join a group
Find a group with a shared interest. Being part of an offline or online group or club is a great way to make connections and meet people. Think about activities that you would like to try out and look for groups centred around these.
- Do things you enjoy
Filling your time doing more things you like can stop you from focusing on feelings of loneliness and is good for your wellbeing.
Spending time outdoors in green space, doing exercise and listening to podcasts and radio shows are just some of the ways to boost your mood and occupy your mind
- Share your feelings – but do not compare
Being able to talk about how you feel with others can help with loneliness and hearing a familiar voice or seeing a friendly face makes us feel less isolated.
However, try not to compare yourself with others. Remember that many people may only share the good things happening to them on social media, so comparing can make you feel lonelier.
Plus, we can never be sure of what someone else is going through.
- Help someone else feel connected
Reach out to others – think about people you know who might be feeling lonely and make an effort to connect with them.
Remember that feeling lonely for a long time can make it harder for people to make new connections. It may be difficult for people experiencing loneliness to respond to your friendly contact at first, so be patient and kind.
If you cannot reach out to friends or family, if you want to talk to someone in confidence, or if you know someone who may need some support, there are organisations that can help.
Find more support and advice for yourself or others on Loneliness – Every Mind Matters – NHS (www.nhs.uk)