Loneliness can come in many different forms - many people enjoy some time alone to recharge their social batteries - but feeling lonely is very different to being physically alone. Loneliness and Chronic Loneliness are similar to depression, and feeling lonely can also be a result of mental health problems such as social anxiety which can be tough for people to which can be a subject that some people might feel embarrassed to talk about.
When someone is lonely they might be feeling as though nobody understands them, they might have trouble socialising. Even someone who is the life and soul of the party can suffer from loneliness at some stage in their life.
Some common reasons that can make people lonely and feel isolated;
- Starting university or school
- Moving house to a new place
- Working from home
- Recently divorced or separated from a partner
- Someone who is living in a care home
It can be difficult to tell if someone is suffering from loneliness, but there are a few things you can look out for if you're concerned about someone's well-being.
Signs someone might be lonely:
- They are very quiet
- Not accepting social invitations
- Binge watching TV and films excessively
- Poor diet
- Often unwell
- Alcohol and/ or substance abuse
How you can help and support someone who is struggling with loneliness:
- Start a conversation with them
- Invite them out, even if it's just to run errands with you
- Help them meet like minded people at a new club or social group
- Introduce them to some of your friends
- See if they would be keen to volunteer for a charity
- Invite them to your home or a social setting that won't be too overwhelming
What you can write in a card to someone who is lonely:
- Let them know you're thinking of them and remind them of a fun memory you have together
- Send them an invitation and plan something to do in the future together, this will give them something to plan, talk to you about and look forward to
- Ask if they would like to be pen pals if you don't know them well/ don't live close or are unable to see them much
- Plan to have a weekly catch up over the phone "So sorry we've not spoken in a while, let's arrange to catch over the phone every Sunday at 6pm?"
- You can write or recite them a poem you think they might like, this way they can read it over and over again
You can find further advice on mental health from professional bodies such as Mind Cornwall.
Disclaimer: Please note this blog is just a guideline for How to tell if someone is lonely. It is not written by a doctor or medical professional. If you know someone who needs urgent assistance please contact their GP.