The 15th of May to Sunday the 21st of May is Mental Health Awareness Week. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness and willingness to talk about mental health issues, however we can always go further. Mental health awareness week seeks to encourage everyone to talk about their own experiences of mental health issues and actively listen to one another. This year, awareness focuses on loneliness and its impact on well-being. So here we have put together a list of facts about loneliness to increase awareness.
Mental health awareness: 10 facts about loneliness
- Firstly, research shows that one in four adults feel lonely some or all the time.
- Secondly there is no single cause and there’s no one solution.
- Feeling lonely is not the same as being alone (loneliness is often experienced as feeling isolated with a lack of feeling connected or feeling rejected).
- Loneliness can according to research shorten a person’s lifespan by as much as 26%.
- There are 3 different types of loneliness: emotional, social, and existential.
- Feeling lonely has shown to actively trigger the pain matrix in the brain.
- Common triggers to loneliness can be divorce, bereavement, move of house, starting university, belonging to a minority group, job move, certain time of the year like Christmas, bullying, discrimination, any feeling of being ostracised, and illness/disability.
- Prolonged loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep problems.
- Loneliness can lead a person to isolate themselves further due to a fear of rejection or disappointment as they control their vulnerability in situations.
- According to research loneliness peaks for people in the 20s.
Since we are all different and will experience loneliness with a range of causes, managing it will also vary. You can read more about managing loneliness on the Mind website by clicking here.