There is a growing recognition that loneliness is a serious problem that can have far reaching implications for people’s health and wellbeing. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness over 9 million people in the UK say that they are always or often lonely, but almost two thirds feel uncomfortable admitting it.
At Christmas we are bombarded with messages of happy families and togetherness, and this can add to the sense of isolation for those who do not have family and friends to share their festivities with.
Whilst there are clear links between social isolation and loneliness, being alone is not the sole cause of loneliness. It is possible to have lots of social contact, be in a relationship or part of a family and still feel alone.
People who do have family and friends may still find Christmas a socially anxious time, with many feeling under pressure to be happy and to join in even if that is not how they truly feel.
Mind cites two main factors that can cause loneliness:-
- someone either not having enough basic contact
- someone who despite being surrounded by people, feels misunderstood or that nobody listens or cares for them.
Other factors that can lead to loneliness include:-
- experiencing a bereavement
- going through a relationship break-up
- retiring and subsequent loss of contact with work colleagues
- starting university
- moving to a new area.
If you are feeling lonely there are a number of ways to seek help. Here are our top tips for combatting loneliness:-
Talk to somebody
In the first instance you might find that talking to somebody helps. Our Listening Friends are pharmacists who volunteer to offer a listening ear to others in times of need. To arrange a call contact the Pharmacist Support team on 0808 168 5133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Get involved – become a volunteer
Volunteering to help in the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and there is no better time to start than at Christmas. A wide variety of charities offer additional support over the festive period. Volunteering opportunities include helping to feed the homeless, driving guests to events or working at a food bank.
You could also have a look at our volunteering opportunities, which include Home Visitor, Listening Friends and Ambassador schemes.
Join a club
Get involved in group activities, hobbies or clubs. From learning to cook or training for a marathon right through to practicing a language, the Meetup site has a group for you. You can search for clubs by area or by activity, for further information click here.