Appointments Available

Monday - 5pm (fortnightly appointment), Tuesday - 9am (fortnightly appointment), Thursday - 10:15am (fortnightly appointment), 4pm and 5pm appointment)

From w/c 3rd June, the following appointments will also be available - Monday - 4pm, Tues - 10:15am, Weds - 10:15am, 11:30am, 3.15pm

If booking for smoking/vaping cessation - this is only a one-off 1.5 - 2 hour session and so I may be able to fit appointments in for this at different times during the day to those listed above, so please get in touch to enquire about availability for these sessions

 

 
 

Loneliness Awareness Week 2020

Loneliness – feeling alone, without anyone special, no friends or company, feeling disconnected from others, feeling disconnected from life itself, being in a big crowd of people yet still feeling alone.

As I write this, we are currently experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there has been another epidemic hitting our nation for many years – ‘loneliness’.

Some Facts About Loneliness

According to the Office for National Statistics in a Community Life Survey (2016-17)[1]: -

  • In 2016 to 2017, there were 5% of adults in England who reported feeling lonely ‘often’ or ‘always’.
  • Younger adults aged 16 to 24 years reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups.
  • Women reported feeling lonely more often than men.
  • Those widowed or single were at particular risk of experiencing loneliness more often.
  • People in poor health or who have conditions they describe as ‘limiting’ were also at particular risk of feeling lonely more often.

The Campaign to End Loneliness also reports that loneliness hits all areas of our society[2]: -

  • Over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London- are either always or often lonely.
  • A survey by Action for Children found that 43% of 17-25 year olds who used their service had experienced problems with loneliness…….24% of parents surveyed said they were always or often lonely.
  • Research by Sense has shown that up to 50% of disabled people will be lonely on any given day.
  • The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6.
  • There are over 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all (Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one).

These are just some of the statistics demonstrating that loneliness is becoming more and more present in UK society.

Why is it important that we become aware of loneliness?

It is harmful to both our physical and mental health. Research has shown that[3]: -

  • The impact of poor social the impact of poor social relationships is comparable to the impact of smoking 15 cigarettes a day and consuming alcohol and exceeds the impact of physical activity and obesity.
  • Lonely individuals are at higher risk of hypertension, poor sleep and the onset of disability.

Those who are lonely are also more prone to depression and other cognitive conditions such as dementia.

Types of Loneliness

There are many different types of loneliness and it can be characterised by its intensity and how deeply it is felt. Loneliness can change from moment to moment. The Marmalade Trust outline five different types of loneliness[4]: -

  • Emotional Loneliness – When someone you were very close with is no longer there. This could be a partner or close friend.
  • Social Loneliness – When you feel like you are lacking a wider social network of friends, neighbours or colleagues.
  • Transient Loneliness – A feeling that comes and goes
  • Situational Loneliness – Loneliness which you only feel at certain times like Sundays, Bank Holidays or Christmas.
  • Chronic Loneliness- When you feel lonely all or most of the time.

What Can I Do If I Am Feeling Lonely?

There are many different causes of loneliness including, loss, grief and bereavement having a baby, becoming a carer, retiring break-ups, starting University, moving away from home, chronic health issues and cultural issues. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

It is important to understand that loneliness is emotion just like any other emotion that we experience. Emotions tell us things about what we need.

One of the first steps is noticing and naming the feeling of loneliness. Everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different but the one thing that is common in overcoming this is not to expect others to lift you out of loneliness. You need to create opportunities for yourself to lift you out of loneliness and isolation. Perhaps stop and think about yourself (yes, that is allowed!) and what you need to feel less lonely: -

  • Spending more time with family and friends, building up to increasing contact may help – a text here, a call there, an invite to a friend or family member to come for a visit.
  • Improving your lifestyle so you feel better within yourself – diet, exercise etc.
  • Sharing your skills – volunteering can be so enriching for meeting new people and developing your social and emotional networks.
  • Find out what is going on in your local community – there are often activities and events being held that will be of interest

Talking About Loneliness

If someone tells you that they are feeling lonely, don’t discount or negate what they are telling you. It can take a lot of courage for someone to have communicated this. The Marmalade Trust states, “We still use words like ‘admitting’ to and ‘suffering’ from, which can unintentionally add to the belief that something is wrong with us. There is absolutely no shame in feeling lonely and changing the language around loneliness is a positive and liberating step forward. The more we talk about it the more we normalise it and we can move towards a society where it can be spoken about openly”.

 

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/lonelinesswhatcharacteristicsandcircumstancesareassociatedwithfeelinglonely/2018-04-10

[2] https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/the-facts-on-loneliness/

[3] https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/frequently-asked-questions/issues-around-loneliness/

[4] https://marmaladetrust.org/law-loneliness-guide/