The Long Term Risks of Loneliness.
Mental Health Foundation warns about the long-term risk to mental health of loneliness, and you can view the findings from their latest survey here.
According to their survey of UK adults, which took place during lockdown (2 – 3 April), one in four said they had feelings of loneliness in the "previous two weeks".
When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people said they had these feelings. In a matter of weeks, social distancing left millions of more people in the UK feeling isolated.
In every corner of Britain, people are living alone, with millions of people in single-person households. People have had to leave home, had issues with their partners, and maybe even decided to get divorced, or were already struggling with mental health problems; these are some of the many reasons why we become isolated.
A participant of the survey Dorothy stated: "To describe loneliness is the hardest in the world. You cannot see it, smell it, touch it. You can only feel it when you have got it." Dorothy is the familiar face of loneliness.
Loneliness affects younger adults almost as much as the older generation
The National Mind "mental health emergency" survey, June 2020, revealed that just under three-quarters of younger adults said loneliness had made their mental health worse.
"I have a fantastic job, I am surrounded by people. It is difficult to admit you are lonely to other people, but I think one of the things you don't consider is it is really hard to admit it to yourself. No one puts on Facebook, I have just been the whole week inside, eating packets of hobnobs and watching friends. People put how great and glamourous their lives are." - Kylie
Ian is 42 years old and said, "I think it is very difficult for me to separate the depression and loneliness. If you've got issues with depression, they just feed off each other. So you are sad, you don't feel like going out. So you stay in and feel lonely. Which makes you sadder. So you are less likely to go out and do anything which makes you feel lonely. It is a vicious circle."
The British Red Cross's 150 years' experience delivering frontline services tells us that connected communities are more resilient. They too have been researching the effects of loneliness during COVID-19 lockdown.
The Red Cross found that there is a greater risk of loneliness among people who:
- live alone
- self-isolated or shielded
- live with young children
- are from BAME backgrounds
- younger generations
- have a long-standing physical or mental impairment, health condition, illness, or disability.
The Red Cross identified a strong relationship between engaging in meaningful conversations and people's confidence in their ability to cope with the crisis. Those who have had a meaningful conversation more recently are more likely to feel confident in their ability to cope.
Tips to do : Make contact, offer messages of support and be kind.
Should you require any help into mental health support for your employees, and beginning conversations around feelings of loneliness and confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.