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You may be aware we recently had Mental Health Awareness Week from the 9th to the 15th May, which was based around Loneliness.  After the last two years this is definitely prevalent and something everyone should be aware of.  People’s relationships faded, due to the lack of contact and the preference on technology when communicating isolated people.

In 2021, the ages of 16 – 24 were classified as the loneliest age group through a BBC Radio 4 survey, but it can impact any age.  Causes could relate to grief or loss, aging alone, feeling socially awkward, limited support and experiencing breakups.

Some people can confuse loneliness with being alone, so what are the signs we should be looking out for? There are different types of loneliness but here are some common factors affecting an individual’s wellbeing.

  • Inability to connect with others on a deeper level
  • Negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth
  • No ‘close’ friends
  • Feeling isolated, even when in a crowded place
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Poor hygiene and appearance
  • Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Change of behaviour
  • Many minor illnesses

As well as the mental and emotional impact, loneliness can affect you physically, indirectly through your sleep patterns.

So how can you support someone who may be feeling lonely? It can be hard to approach someone you know may be lonely, as they won’t particularly talk about it.  Here are some tips to help you make the approach.

  • Always ask how someone is twice, so they know you care for their answer and it isn’t only a polite hello
  • Validate their feelings and ask further questions centring the individual, allowing reflection.
  • Communicate in a non-judgemental way
  • Ask them how you can help
  • Make yourself available
  • Make a plan with them. Organise something fun
  • Small talk with a smile can go a long way
  • Be dependable
  • Signpost to local groups, charities, or communities

Check in on the friend who has recently had a breakup, to someone you know has lost someone, check your own relatives, get to know the people living alone on your street.

Everyone needs a little human contact to thrive.

One on the benefits for being part of WALX Coast and Country is it gives you the opportunity to spend time with other people. Just being part of a group can give you the opportunity to realise you are not alone.

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