Loneliness is an issue that can affect us all, young or old, at any point in our lives. We might live in a busy city or a rural location, on our own or with others and still feel isolated.
Loneliness has no common cause. Sometimes it can be triggered by a life event or change in situation, or it may not be triggered by anything at all.
Feeling lonely is different for everyone and we all experience it in different ways. This also means that there are lots of ways we can try to overcome loneliness, using the right help and support.
It's really important to remember that loneliness and difficult feelings can pass. You should not blame yourself for feeling like you are struggling, now or at any other time.
While loneliness is a feeling we can all relate to, sometimes admitting we feel lonely is much harder.
Now more than ever, loneliness is part of the public conversation, and we want people to talk more openly about feeling lonely and the impact that loneliness can have.
Advice for loneliness
Here is some practical advice and tips on how to help yourself or others if you or they are feeling lonely.
You can also contact one of the helplines listed in the support section.
1. Keep in touch with those around you
Talk to friends and family. Sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference, whether someone is around the corner or further away.
Whether you choose to meet up in person, or chat on the phone, via video calls or on social media, all contact can help remind you that you are not alone.
Make sure to check in regularly – most of us love hearing from people we have lost contact with. Creating a routine of checking in with others and being more sociable can be good, as it can make it easier to reach out at the time you feel lonely.
Messaging old friends or colleagues, or setting up a group chat on a messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger may help us feel more connected.
2. Join a group
Find a group with a shared interest. Being part of an offline or online group or club is a great way to make connections and meet people. Think about activities that you would like to try out and look for groups centred around these.
The people around you may also be able to introduce you to a group they belong to. This could be anything, from gaming and singing to cooking or sport.
Also remember to be welcoming to newcomers and seek to involve others in the conversation, especially those who may be lacking confidence.
3. Do things you enjoy
Filling your time doing more things you like can stop you from focusing on feelings of loneliness and is good for your wellbeing.
Spending time outdoors in green space, doing exercise and listening to podcasts and radio shows are just some of the ways to boost your mood and occupy your mind.
4. Share your feelings – but do not compare
Being able to talk about how you feel with others can help with loneliness, and hearing a familiar voice or seeing a friendly face makes us feel less isolated.
However, try not to compare yourself with others. Remember that many people may only share the good things happening to them on social media, so comparing can make you feel lonelier.
Plus, we can never be sure of what someone else is going through.
5. Help someone else feel connected
Reach out to others – think about people you know who might be feeling lonely and make an effort to connect with them.
Remember that feeling lonely for a long time can make it harder for people to make new connections. It may be difficult for people experiencing loneliness to respond to your friendly contact at first, so be patient and kind.
Try to connect with those around you too. If you pass neighbours or acquaintances on the street, take the time to smile, wave and chat. You could offer to swap phone numbers or create a local group chat to stay connected.
Think about making time to volunteer – it's a great way to meet people and connect, and seeing the benefits of your actions can really help to boost your mental wellbeing.
Support for loneliness
If you cannot reach out to friends or family, if you want to talk to someone in confidence, or if you know someone who may need some support, these organisations are here to help.
If you're experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, the NHS mental health hub has advice, a self-assessment quiz, audio guides and practical tools to help.
There is also plenty of advice on our urgent support page.
Talk to someone about how you're feeling
The Mix offers free confidential help for under-25s to get support online and via a helpline:
- call The Mix free on 0808 808 4494
- text "THEMIX" to 85258
- visit The Mix website for a free online chat service
A free 24-hour confidential telephone helpline offering information, friendship and advice to people over 55:
Communities you could join
The Student Room
The Student Room is the largest online community, with a range of different forums to help students get advice and support from others while studying:
Mind Side By Side
If you are over 18, you can join Side By Side, an online community where you can listen, share and be heard by others:
Mumsnet is a great place to connect with other parents and carers. The website offers advice, knowledge and support help make lives easier on everything from conception to childbirth and babies to teenagers:
Gransnet is a social networking site that offers a forum for over-50s to chat, debate, support each other and share a laugh:
Offering expert telephone advice via its support service, Carers UK also has a forum where you can chat and seek advice from others:
NCT offers a range of free, community-based activities and events across the UK, providing social connection and support for parents. You can also find trusted information and a range of antenatal, breastfeeding and postnatal support on the NCT website. The free Infant Feeding Line is open every day from 8am to midnight if you need support or just someone to talk to:
Ataloss and The Good Grief
If you have been bereaved and need support, Ataloss and The Good Grief Trust offer helplines, information and guidance to help you:
If you have been suddenly bereaved, Sudden can provide specialist support:
Mind has information about dealing with loneliness and offers tips and advice on coping with these feelings:
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross's "Tackling Loneliness Digitally" programme has developed some new resources to help build confidence, coping skills and connections for adults and young people:
The Campaign to End Loneliness
The Campaign to End Loneliness wants to inspire everyone to connect and bring communities together across the UK. It shares research, evidence and knowledge with thousands of other organisations and the public to make a difference to older people's lives:
The Marmalade Trust
The Marmalade Trust is dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness and helping people make new friendships: