Why Loneliness is the theme for this years Mental Health Awareness Week.  The Mental Health Foundation’s research during the pandemic discovered that Loneliness and Insolation has been exasperated during Covid and more needs to be done to raise awareness. What is loneliness, is it the same as being alone?  You often hear people say they were in a packed room yet that still felt all alone. What does that mean and why does it happen?  The feeling of loneliness can be described as when you are seeking social connection, a feeling of being wanted, accepted, and understood by those around you but not achieving this.  Some people are happy to be alone. They enjoy their own company and relish time spent in isolation, but others may struggle, and this can trigger often intense feelings of loneliness. 

 
What are some of the main causes of loneliness? 
 
Most people think that loneliness is associated with elderly people, this is not the case, loneliness can impact on any age and there can be a variety of reasons a person is feeling lonely. 
 
Bereavement – losing a partner at any age 
 
Moving to a new area, for a job, for university, to downsize, to escape a relationship, starting a new relationship, active service and following a partner. 
 
Christmas or other bank holidays when families tend to get together 
 
Being a single parent or a carer of elderly parents and trying to balance the lives of others and losing your identity. 
 
Feeling of being different from those around you, either due to sexual orientation, racial group or maybe a disability that creates isolation and without support you can’t get out. 
 
Suffering with a mental health issue which can have a social stigma or a physical condition like Tourette’s which can mean you are ostracised or excluded. 
Is loneliness a mental health problem? 
 
Loneliness itself is not classified as a mental health problem but it can lead to other mental health issues or the mental health challenge itself can lead to loneliness. For example, social anxiety or agoraphobia could lead to remaining at home and not seeing anyone or having any visitors. This can create a feeling of chronic isolation. 
 
Can loneliness be harmful to my health? 
 
AgeUK produced a report at the end of 2021, which studied the impact of Covid on the feeling of loneliness and has forecast the by 2026 over 2million adults over 50 will experience feeling lonely. 
 
The report also highlighted that nearly half of respondents felt less confident in attending a hospital appointment, this probably very similar to anyone suffering with a health issue and being forced to remain in isolation, therefor unable to look after their health. 
Does working at home impact on the feeling of loneliness? 
 
Working from home has for many been a brilliant experience bringing many benefits both professionally and personally, but that hasn’t been the case for everyone. 
 
Research conducted by HowNow discovered that two thirds of home workers feel disconnected and 42% feel lonely at work! This can lead to increased absenteeism due to stress and higher incidents of staff turnover. 
How to combat loneliness at work and where to start? 
 
Working with your homeworkers and finding out how they are feeling is becoming increasingly important, it wasn’t as essential during the lock downs as there was no alternative. But where ‘normal’ working returns for those employees whose companies have shut their offices or where home working is now the new normal, checking in and finding out how they are coping is essential. 
 
Find out today how our training can support your homeworkers
 
Talk to us about our half day training or online workshops can help to build a resilient team and support your wellbeing strategies. 
 
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