Did you know
32% of 16 - 24 year olds in Suffolk say they feel lonely 'often or all of the time'?
Loneliness – the state we’re in: Age UK, 2012
The Mental Health Foundation found loneliness to be a bigger concern to young people than the elderly! If you're feeling lonely, you're not alone, there are things you can do to make yourself feel less lonely. Just by being aware of these feelings, you are taking a step in the right direction.
Feeling lonely is normal – everyone feels this way at some point in their lives. Feeling lonely won’t last forever.
Loneliness is a sort of empty feeling, like you don't know who you can turn to, like you feel disconnected from others. It's a really personal feeling, you may have lots of people around you, yet you can still feel lonely. Have you heard people that have lived or live in London (a population of nearly 9 million people) say that it feels like the loneliest place on earth? Feelings of loneliness are connected with your emotional well-being too and can be accompanied by stress, low mood and anxiety.
But feelings of loneliness are helpful because they remind us that we need to look for ways to re-connect and get involved with people, friends and family and the things we enjoy doing. What is making you feel lonely? How could you change it?
Log onto social media and it can feel like everyone else is having an amazing time and has it all sorted, but that doesn't mean they do, you can't know how people are feeling when they are alone - so don't give yourself a hard time and be careful when comparing yourself to others. Lots of people feel lonely at some point.
“Social media is social pressure... people posting fake happiness. That has to be one of the loneliest places. Rosa, aged 18, from Co-op Foundation report 2018.
Tips on using social media when you’re feeling lonely
- Try to avoid posting negative thoughts and feelings about yourself online - This can put off friends and people from wanting to connect with you on social media.
- Use social media to stay in contact with friends - not make friends - Stick to making friends with those you know or see in real life rather than gain lots of virtual friends who you only speak to online. Good friendships are created when you see each other in person, as well as online. (And you should always be careful about meeting people who you met online.)
Could you help someone who is feeling lonely? Watch this video experiment to see how they may be feeling? Ask that person how they are, give them a smile, give them a compliment, ask if they would like to do a hobby together and if they are a good friend you could tell them some things you like about them to remind them of their worth. Think how someone helped you when you were having a bad day, what did someone do that made you feel better?
What makes people feel lonely?
- Moving to a new area, or your friends moving away
- Finishing school, college or university
- Being unemployed or having money worries
- Falling out with your friends or just growing apart
- A relationship breaking up
- The death of someone close to you
- Having to care for a family member
- Shyness or low self-confidence
- Physical or mental health conditions
What can you do if you're feeling lonely?
“No-one else from my family has ever been to university. I didn’t know anyone and I knew I had to do something to get out of my room so eventually I joined a football team.” Danny, aged 23, from Co-op Foundation report 2018.
- Take a look at our Whats Up Challenge - tips and challenges to help you get back in touch with you and what makes you feel good :)
- Re-connect with people around you. Have a conversation with someone you used to like speaking to but you haven't in a while, a family member, trusted adult or good friend.
- Tell someone how you are feeling. If you don't who to talk to, you could text a school nurse on 07507 333356 (ChatHealth) for free confidential advice and support.
- Remember you are loved and valued for being amazing you - even if you don't feel like it sometimes.
- Get involved in something - Look for voluntary opportunities www.volunteersuffolk.org.uk
- The children and young people's Emotional Wellbeing Hub provides an online referral form support and a telephone helpline (0345 600 2090) if you are worried about you or a friend's emotional wellbeing and need confidential advice.
- Find a local youth group
- Search for leisure activities and groups in your area on Infolink - Tips if you are nervous about joining a new group/activity for the first time: 1. Stand straight and keep your chin up when you go in (this will help you feel more confident) 2. Say hello to everyone. 3. See how they are – do they seem like people you can feel comfortable with? 4. If you feel uncomfortable go – just ask to leave. 5. If you like it go back again. You won’t know unless you try!
Childline have some good ideas to help you feel better
Mind have ideas about coping with loneliness.
Onelife Suffolk information page
Read about the five ways to wellbeing which are: connect with others, be active, give and volunteer, keep learning, take notice and live in the present