At East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice Bureau in west-central Scotland, we are here to help. If you live or work in the East Dunbartonshire area, we can give you personalised advice on getting the right support for mental health and wellbeing. Please contact us here, chat online or call us on 0141 775 3220. If you reside outside East Dunbartonshire, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance. Find them here.
Loneliness is a feeling we all experience at some point in our lives. It is an emotional state that can be triggered by a number of factors, such as social isolation, bereavement, or a change in circumstance.
Whilst it is perfectly normal to feel lonely from time to time, constantly feeling alone can negatively affect our mental health. Let’s take a look at the effects of loneliness on mental health and what you can do to cope with this difficult emotion.
Loneliness can be triggered by a sense of distance from other people or a lack of meaningful connections. It is a feeling we all experience from time to time and can take many forms, from being excluded from society to feeling disconnected from friends and family. It can be triggered by external events such as bereavement, illness or even a change in circumstances. Loneliness isn’t the same as spending time alone. Spending time in your own company and having some ‘me time’ is good for your mental health. And you can feel lonely even in a crowd, at a family gathering or at a social event. Feeling lonely means you have no support network, or no one cares about you.
What are the effects of loneliness on mental health?
Loneliness can have a significant impact on our mental health. Research has shown that prolonged loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety. Long-term loneliness can also lead to feelings of despair, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Those suffering from chronic loneliness can also experience physical effects. Studies have linked long-term loneliness to a weakened immune system, increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased likelihood of stroke.
It is important to recognise that seeking help for feelings of loneliness is not a sign of weakness and reach out to friends and family for support if you need it. It can also be helpful to be mindful of your thinking patterns. Negative self-talk can make feelings of loneliness worse. It can also be helpful to set goals, no matter how small, that you want to achieve each day.
How about joining a hobby group or a book club? Or how about an exercise class? It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous. How about a walking group? Walking is one of the best exercises and, even better, it’s free! Exercise is known to release feel-good hormones that will help to improve your mood. Maybe you could volunteer for a charity that is close to your heart?
Where can you find help?
If you are experiencing ongoing feelings of loneliness and you think it is affecting your mental health, it’s really important to seek help. Reach out to friends and family for support, or speak to your GP, who can provide advice and access to mental health services.
We have a specialist team of mental well-being experts who can help you. You’ll need a doctor’s referral, so make an appointment and ask for a GP referral. And take a look at our 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing. You can also find help and support through various online helplines, organisations and information.
- Mind – Tips to manage loneliness
- The Samaritans: They offer emotional support 24 hours a day – in full confidence. Call them free on 116 123, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) website and web chat
- Every Mind Matters
Loneliness is a normal emotion to feel from time to time, but if it is prolonged and persistent, it can significantly impact our mental and physical well-being. If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic loneliness, it is important to seek out help and support.
East Dunbartonshire CAB is here to help
If you need any specific advice on getting support for your mental health and wellbeing, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help. Residents of East Dunbartonshire can contact us here, chat online or call us on 0141 775 3220. If you live outside of East Dunbartonshire, you can find your local CAB here.Contact us