Loneliness Awareness Week is an annual campaign, hosted by Marmalade Trust charity, to raise awareness of loneliness and encourage people to speak about it more openly. This year’s campaign (15-19 June) is called “One Less Lonely Voice” with the “one” taken out of loneliness, to signify one less lonely voice.
loneliness awareness week logo
What is loneliness?
The definition: Loneliness is a perceived mismatch between the quality or quantity of social connections that a person has and what they would like to have
It’s normal to feel lonely sometimes. Humans are wired for social contact and loneliness is our signal that we either need more or better-quality interactions. It’s also important to know that you don’t have to be on your own to feel lonely. For example, you might feel lonely in a relationship or while spending time with friends or family, especially if you don't feel understood or cared for by the people around you. Also, some people are happy alone and live fulfilling lives without much social contact.
Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives, regardless of age, circumstance and background. It’s a common misconception that loneliness is limited to older people and it’s actually now 16-24 year olds who are the loneliest age group in the UK.
Below are some potential causes of loneliness:
- Moving away from home
- Starting university or a new job
- Becoming a new parent
- A relationship break-up
- Suffering a bereavement
Let’s talk about it
Remember, it’s normal! There is absolutely no shame in feeling lonely and telling someone is a positive and liberating step forward. The more we talk about it, the more we normalise it and move towards a society where it can be spoken about openly.
It’s also important HOW we talk about it. Let’s try to avoid words such as ‘admitting’ to and ‘suffering’ from, which can unintentionally make us feel that something is wrong with us.
Join the online conversation
Please leave your comments, like and share our posts. You can even tag a friend who has helped you when you’ve felt lonely. The more we share our experiences and offer tips, the more we can empower others to understand and manage feelings of loneliness.
Advice and support
The government has provided 3 tangible actions for anyone feeling lonely and 3 actions for people wanting to help, during lockdown.
If you are lonely you can:
- Keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours
- Ask for help if you need shopping, medicine or are feeling lonely
- Set a routine with online activities, regular tasks or by volunteering
If you are worried about someone who is lonely:
- Phone a friend or family member you think may be lonely
- Smile, wave or chat from a safe distance with a neighbour
- Help out through volunteering by picking up food, medicine or by offering regular conversation to someone living alone
If you’re an older person feeling lonely, Age UK has provided advice on how you can stay connected during self-isolation.