First published: 9th May 2022
Information sourced from Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago and they continue to set the theme, organise and host the week. It has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally.
For Mental Health Awareness Week this year, the Mental Health Foundation are raising awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it.
Loneliness can sometimes be the reason that people respond to scams - maybe that phone call or letter through the door is the only human contact the person has had this week. If they just send the person money, the interactions will continue.
While anyone can experience loneliness, certain risk factors increase our chances of severe and lasting loneliness that can affect our mental health.
- Being widowed
- Being single
- Being unemployed
- Living alone
- Having a long-term health condition or disability
- Living in rented accommodation
- Being between 16 and 24 years old
- Being a carer
- Being from an ethnic minority community
- Being LGBTQ+
The stigma of loneliness makes it hard to talk about. People worry about being judged or feeling like a burden.
Long-term loneliness can impact our mental and physical health – which has implications not just for individuals but also for society at large. Being lonely for a long time can lead to a negative spiral: loneliness makes it harder to connect, which leads to people being afraid of social situations, meaning it is harder to find joy in life and escape negative thoughts.
The Mental Health Foundation have produced an excellent report into loneliness and mental health - you can download the full report here.