Govt report into levels of loneliness around the UK

ended 05. April 2021

On Wednesday morning (7th April) @ 09:30, the Office for National Statistics is publishing a comprehensive study of loneliness by local authority in the UK.

The report will analyse the different factors that cause loneliness, from the individual characteristics of a person and their private and work lives to the area in which they live.

It's likely to get a fair amount of media pick-up and we're looking for views from mental health and wellbeing experts that we will send to the media ahead of the report's publication.

Feel free to send any thoughts across, but questions to answer might be:

  • Has loneliness increased since the pandemic began?
  • To what extent is loneliness nature, and to what extent nurture?
  • What are the main causes of loneliness (beyond lockdowns)?
  • Does social media usage increase or reduce loneliness?
  • How can people extract themselves from loneliness?

Please be short and punchy with your alert_responses. As ever, no need for an essay. Three or four paragraphs is perfect.

3 responses from the Newspage community

One of the primary feelings millions of us have experienced during the coronavirus pandemic is loneliness. Our usual ways of seeing family, friends or just familiar faces have been put on pause. What we need to remember is that, while this is a challenging time, it will pass. There will be lots of hugs, shared pots of tea, parties and celebrations in the future. We're urging people who are lonely to join an online group or class that focuses on something they enjoy. This could be anything from an online exercise class to a book review club.
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Breathing Space
"Without a doubt, the pandemic has accentuated an already growing trend in loneliness. Lockdowns, restrictions on groups and social distancing as a whole have made so many more people feel isolated and alone. Even the ability to speak to others online doesn't replace our need for real-world human contact and company. Everyone experiences loneliness at points but not everyone has the tools to do something about it. It can be hard to know where to start. As hard as it may be, we urge people to step out and actively playing a part in their local communities, and all the more so as the economy reopens. Engaging in person not just with close family and friends but also our neighbours and the wider community can make us feel much more connected to others."
"Loneliness levels have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, especially for younger people and those who live alone. The removal of the support networks that we rely upon, such as going to work, the pub and gym, has affected our sense of connection and wellbeing. Loneliness can affect anyone but is especially common among the elderly, people who live alone, and young people as they strive to establish a stable and reliable social group. Overcoming loneliness can be difficult but the important thing is to take the sometimes uncomfortable step of engaging with others. Start by talking to people with similar interests or circumstances and, if possible, get involved in activities that have a social element. If you are really stuck, consider talking to coach or mentor who will be able to offer practical and achievable milestones that are right for you. Studies have shown that there is a strong genetic element at play when it comes to feeling lonely but equally 'nurture' plays a role, too. After all, growing up in a busy household and then finding yourself living alone will often be more difficult to adjust to than if your family life was more socially restricted. Though ostensibly connecting us, social media can also lead to low self-esteem and loneliness as the people you are engaging with may have infinitely more 'friends' and 'likes', and continually share the most exciting aspects of their lives. In that sense, social media can be a truly double-edged sword."