Loneliness

NHS

Most people feel lonely sometimes, for many different reasons. If loneliness is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help.

Things you can try to help with loneliness

Do

  • try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. You could also contact Samaritans, call: 116 123.
  • consider joining a group or class that focuses on something you enjoy; you could ask to go along and just watch first if you're feeling nervous
  • consider visiting places where you can just be around other people – for example, a park, the cinema or a cafe
  • consider peer support, where people use their experiences to help each other.
  • try the 6 ways to feel happier, which are simple lifestyle changes to help you feel more in control and able to cope
  • find out how to raise your self-esteem

Don’t

  • do not try to do everything at once; set small targets that you can easily achieve
  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better
  • try not to compare yourself to others. On social media you usually only see things people want to share
  • try not to tell yourself that you're alone – many people feel lonely at some point in their life and support is available
  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve loneliness; these can all contribute to poor mental health

Causes of loneliness

Loneliness has many different causes and it can affect people of all ages. It's often linked with things that could prevent you spending time with other people, such as:

  • living or working alone
  • retirement
  • illness or disability
  • bereavement (losing someone or something)
  • moving to a new area, job, school or university
  • social anxiety (social phobia)

However, you do not have to be on your own all the time to feel lonely. Many people feel lonely in a relationship or while spending time with friends or family.

Other significant life events such as buying a house, having a baby or planning a wedding could also lead to feelings of loneliness. You might find it hard to explain to people why you feel this way but talking to someone could help you find a solution.

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Helplines & Web Chats

Samaritans
Action Mental Health
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Aware NI - Support Groups
Aware NI - Online Support Groups
Mind - Side by Side Online Community