We’ve talked a lot this week about loneliness and it’s link to social media and the ‘new normal’ but loneliness can be caused by a whole variety of things. To round up this Mental Health Awareness Week, we thought we’d talk about loneliness as a whole, what it can lead to and where you can turn for further help.
What causes loneliness?
Loneliness can be caused by a whole host of factors; these can include experiencing discrimination, changing jobs or circumstances, a bereavement or break-up, starting at college or university, lacking self-confidence or having no one to talk to, amongst other factors. Any one of these can lead to isolation which in turn leads to loneliness, especially amongst the younger and older generations. It’s never easy to feel that you have no one to talk to and it can be hard to cope with, especially when loneliness can lead to further mental health conditions which only make the situation worse.
What can loneliness lead to?
Experiencing loneliness is something that most of us will go through at some point during our lives but not many people realise what a detrimental effect it can have. Loneliness can lead to a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, or it can worsen them if you are already suffering. It can also lead to sleep problems, increased stress, low self-esteem, exhaustion and further isolation.
What can you do to cope?
Although it can feel impossible, there are some things you can try to help. Connecting with others is one of the most effective methods to deal with loneliness. This could be in person, with new people, old friends, family members or colleagues or via social media (although remember to use social media safely). Or perhaps, you could join a new group at college or university or a support network (we’ve included some suggestions at the bottom of the page). Another suggestion would be trying self-care or even spending some time with a furry or feathered friend! There are many options to help combat feelings of loneliness, even if you maybe don’t want to talk about it with another person.
We’ve also rounded up some suggestion for further resources that could help if you’re experiencing feelings of loneliness. At The College, we have many avenues you can explore if you need support, including counselling and our Buddy Scheme. You can find more information about those here. Remember, we want to help you and we are here to listen to and support you wherever we can.