As lockdown comes to an end, loneliness levels are at a record high

It was 31st October. Strolling through Cheltenham at 10pm, crowds of drunken ghosts and devils gathered around street corners, enjoying one of their last few nights of drinking in pubs on Halloween before the second lockdown. This time, the lockdown had been announced to last only a month.

The reality was, with darker evenings and shorter days, the small amount of freedom that was given to the UK was less optimistic than when the first lockdown was put in place in March. The end didn’t seem to be in sight.

According to the Office of National Statistics, Britain saw the highest amount of acute loneliness in early November since the start of the pandemic, with 8% of adults confirming were “always or often lonely”.

The research also showed that 16-29-year-olds are twice as likely as over-70s to be experiencing loneliness in the pandemic – suggesting that more recognition should be given to young people who are struggling with their mental health in lockdown.

According to a recent Twitter poll, more than 60% said they have struggled with loneliness sometimes, with a lower percentage of participants saying they never feel this way.

The 4-week lockdown will finish on Wednesday 2nd December before a Tier system takes over, but with record numbers of loneliness and Winter encouraging people to isolate themselves, here’s what you can if you or someone you know is struggling:

  1. Reach out
    If you or anyone you know might be feeling alone, reach out and ask them if they’re OK. Just picking up the phone and hearing a friendly voice is enough to make someone feel supported.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation, ask for help from your friends and family or contact a mental health charity for support and counselling. Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind are a charity that offer 1-1 services to improve wellbeing and help empower people who are struggling.
  3. Realise you’re not alone.
    When you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to think you’re the only one feeling that way. Coming to terms with feelings of loneliness and realising lots of people are struggling with these feelings in the pandemic is a way to remove the stigma.
  4. Look for in-depth tips about combating loneliness on the Government website.
    You can find tips and support specifically during the pandemic on the Let’s Talk Loneliness website, offering advice and stories from people who are going through similar feelings.
  5. If you require crisis support, call one of the following services:
    Samaritans – 116 123
    Gloucestershire Crisis Team – 0800 169 0398
    Emergency services – 999

Featured Image by Ian Scargill on Unsplash

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