The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 is ……… “Loneliness”.

Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and has had a huge impact on our mental health during the pandemic. From 9 – 15 May we aim to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing, as well as the practical steps that can be taken to address it.

Care First are offering free webinars on a variety of topics relating to the theme of loneliness – learn more on our events page.

 

How you can get involved

This May, in support of the week, we’re running our ’80 Miles in May’ Facebook Challenge. We’re asking supporters like you to walk, jog, or run the distance of 80 miles, over the course of May, in support of the Foundation.

You can sign up by joining our dedicated Facebook Challenge group where you’ll find tips, inspiration and a free challenge water bottle!

Click here to join our 80 Miles in May Challenge

 

Want to do something else instead? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

If our Facebook Challenge isn’t your thing, you can sign up to hold a Tea & Talk instead.

This is a great opportunity to come together with family, friends, colleagues, or your local community and get talking about mental health over a cuppa and a slice of cake!

We’ve got tons of resources, from posters to bunting and lots of recipes. Get started by downloading our fundraising pack:

Click here to download our Tea & Talk pack

 

Any money raised will be used to help us fight for the prevention of mental ill health by continuing our research and delivering life-changing programmes throughout the UK.

Please contact the events team at: events@mentalhealth.org.uk if you have any questions about our events.

 

Advice for loneliness

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.

Make sure to check in regularly – most of us love hearing from people we have lost contact with. Creating a routine of checking in with others and being more sociable can be good, as it can make it easier to reach out at the time you feel lonely.

Messaging old friends or colleagues, or setting up a group chat on a messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger may help them and you feel more connected.

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.

The people around you may also be able to introduce you to a group they belong to. This could be anything, from gaming and singing to cooking or sport.

Also remember to be welcoming to newcomers and seek to involve others in the conversation, especially those who may be lacking confidence.

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.

Try to keep in touch with those around you too. If you pass neighbours or acquaintances on the street, take the time to smile, wave and chat. You could offer to swap phone numbers or create a local group chat to stay connected.

Think about making time to volunteer – it’s a great way to meet people and connect, and seeing the benefits of your actions can really help to boost your mental wellbeing.

NHS Responders and Age UK Telephone Befrienders are a great place to start.

 

Support for loneliness

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, these organisations are here to help.

If you’re experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, the NHS mental health hub has advice, a self-assessment quiz, audio guides and practical tools to help.

There is also plenty of advice on our urgent support page.

 

Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

The Mix

The Mix offers free confidential help for under-25s to get support online and via a helpline:

Silverline

A free 24-hour confidential telephone helpline offering information, friendship and advice to people over 55:

 

Communities you could join

The Student Room

The Student Room is the largest online community, with a range of different forums to help students get advice and support from others while studying:

Mind Side By Side

If you are over 18, you can join Side By Side, an online community where you can listen, share and be heard by others:

Mumsnet

Mumsnet is a great place to connect with other parents and carers. The website offers advice, knowledge and support help make lives easier on everything from conception to childbirth and babies to teenagers:

Gransnet

Gransnet is a social networking site that offers a forum for over-50s to chat, debate, support each other and share a laugh:

Carers UK

Offering expert telephone advice via its support service, Carers UK also has a forum where you can chat and seek advice from others:

NCT

NCT offers a range of free, community-based activities and events across the UK, providing social connection and support for parents. You can also find trusted information and a range of antenatal, breastfeeding and postnatal support on the NCT website. The free Infant Feeding Line is open every day from 8am to midnight if you need support or just someone to talk to:

Other resources

Mind

Mind has information about dealing with loneliness and offers tips and advice on coping with these feelings:

British Red Cross

The British Red Cross’s “Tackling Loneliness Digitally” programme has developed some new resources to help build confidence, coping skills and connections for adults and young people:

The Campaign to End Loneliness

The Campaign to End Loneliness wants to inspire everyone to connect and bring communities together across the UK. It shares research, evidence and knowledge with thousands of other organisations and the public to make a difference to older people’s lives:

The Marmalade Trust

The Marmalade Trust is dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness and helping people make new friendships:

 

Source: NHS.uk Photo: Marina Shatskikh