32% of 16 - 24 year olds in Suffolk say they feel lonely 'often or all of the time'?
What does loneliness feel like?
Loneliness is a sort of empty feeling, like you don't know who you can turn to and 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.
Feeling lonely is normal – everyone feels this way at some point in their lives. Feeling lonely won’t last forever.
Feelings of loneliness are connected with your emotional wellbeing and can be accompanied by stress, low mood and anxiety.
Feelings of loneliness are helpful because they remind us that we need to look for ways to re-connect. So get involved with people, friends and family and do more of the things you enjoy doing!
The above animated video titled, 'Loneliness', captures quotes and experiences from a number of young people who struggle with loneliness.
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
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.
Try asking yourself what is making you feel lonely? And how could you change it?
Be aware that social media can make you feel lonely!
When we log onto social media it can often make us feel lonely. It might look like everyone else is having an amazing time and seem to have it all sorted, but that doesn't mean they do. Remember social media only tends to capture the best bits of our lives, the bits that we want people to see. Don't give yourself a hard time comparing yourself to others on social media, and if it's making you feel lonely cut down how long you are spending on it.
“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.)
How to help a friend/someone who is feeling lonely
- Ask that person how they are
- Give them a smile
- Give them a compliment
- Ask them if they would like to do a hobby together with you
- If they are a close friend you could tell them some things you like about them.
- Think how someone helped you when you were having a bad day.
What you can do if you're feeling lonely
- Remember you are loved and valued by those around you.
- Re-connect with people around you - 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 have someone to talk to, get online support from kooth.com
- Speak to a school nurse - Send a text to 07507 333356, for more details go to our ChatHealth page
- Find a local youth group - see our 'Find something near you' page
- Search for leisure activities and groups in your area - Visit Suffolk Infolink website
Tips if you're nervous about joining a new group/activity for the first time:
- Stand straight and keep your chin up when you go in (this will help you feel more confident)
- Say hello to everyone.
- See how they are – do they seem like people you can feel comfortable with?
- If you feel uncomfortable go – just ask to leave.
- If you like it go back again. You won’t know unless you try!
Ideas to connect to people:
- Organise a weekly facetime call with a friends/family
- Organise a group watch film night with friends on Disney or Netflix.
- Go old school and write a letter or postcard to someone rather than a text message.
- Take a walk in the countryside with a friend or family - it can be easier to talk face-2-face when you are out walking.
- Join a virtual book or film club.
- Share your experiences of loneliness with others.
- Childline - have some good ideas to help you feel better on their 'Loneliness and isolation' page
- Mind - have ideas about coping with loneliness on their 'Loneliness' page