Associate Feature: Mental Health Awareness Week message to help tackle loneliness
Loneliness is a significant public health issue and is a key indicator of poor mental health. Loneliness is something we all feel at times but when it is chronic or long-term, it can have serious effects on our mental health.
Loneliness is not about the number of friends we have, how much time we spend on our own, or something which happens when we reach a certain age. It’s the feeling we experience when there is a mismatch between the meaningful social connections we want and those we have.
Our recent research shows that 78 per cent of adults in Scotland have experienced loneliness over the last year, but over half (51%) hide their feelings of loneliness from others.
This Mental Health Awareness Week (9-16 May 2022) the Mental Health Foundation wants to give loneliness and its impact on mental health the attention it deserves, bringing it out from the shadows where it is so often hidden.
We all have a part to play in reducing loneliness and helping to prevent mental health problems developing. Local and national governments can also take action to help reduce social isolation in our communities such as investment in quality community spaces to create more opportunities for people to connect.
It’s also important that all mental health strategies consider loneliness, with particular attention given to people who are higher risk such as those living with long-term health conditions or existing mental health problems, people from racialised communities, young people or people who are LGBTQ+.
Mental Health Foundation has been running Mental Health Awareness Week for 22 years. We’re inviting people to get involved this year by sharing their experiences of loneliness and the impact on their mental health with the tag #IveBeenThere. By doing this we can send a powerful message to people who may be struggling that it is not something we need to manage alone.
This article is sponsored by Mental Health Foundation.