Urgent help

Loneliness

Loneliness can affect everyone no matter their age. Most young people feel lonely at times, but it can be difficult to talk about it and even more difficult to ask for help.

What is loneliness

We all get lonely sometimes. Loneliness is a normal emotion like being happy, angry, sad or excited. Everyone feels it from time to time and everybody’s experience of loneliness is different. You don’t need to be physically alone to feel lonely.  You might be surrounded by your family or classmates, but it can feel like you’re on your own or that no one understands how you feel.

Loneliness is less about the number of friends you have and more about how you feel about those you socially interact with. Some people are very happy to spend a lot of time alone, while others may be part of a large social circle but still feel lonely and isolated.

Feeling lonely can also affect your overall mental health, especially if these feelings have lasted a long time. It can make you feel anxious or depressed and give you low self-esteem and confidence, sleep problems and increased stress.

What causes loneliness?

There are many different reasons for feeling lonely but there are some times in our lives where it could be worse. For example

  • moving school
  • changing year group
  • moving to a different neighbourhood
  • if relationships change
  • leaving home for work or further education
  • if your family life is disrupted
  • if you have lost someone close to you

There are also certain groups that are at greater risk of loneliness. These include:

  • young carers
  • those living with a disability or long-term illness
  • the LGBTQ+ community
  • those in care
  • young people who are bullied

What can help?

Thinking about what is making you feel lonely may help you find a way of reconnecting and reaching out to other people in a similar situation to you.

There are things that can help if you feel lonely:

  • tell someone you trust how you feel
  • get support from a trusted organisation
  • get advice about building confidence and self-esteem – this can help you feel confident when you meet new people and focus on stuff you like about yourself
  • join a club or group where you can meet new people – this could be a sports team, music class, book club or even a safe online forum group for a new hobby.
  • volunteering is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and ideas. It can also boost your confidence and your skills . There are lots of great opportunities from helping with litter picks to pen-pal schemes.

Remember to start small – it can be difficult to put yourself out there.

Getting More Help

If you feel that your loneliness is impacting on your day to day life, then it’s important that you speak to someone that you trust; this might be family and friends, or a teacher, mentor or school counsellor or your GP. If you find it difficult to talk about how you are feeling, you could write them a letter or send them a text. Support is also available through Childline, Compass BUZZ, Kooth and Recovery College Online.

Childline

Childline provides a free and confidential telephone service for children and young people up to the age of 19.

Read Childline’s advice on feeling lonely.

Visit Childline Call 0800 1111

Compass BUZZ

Compass BUZZ offers a confidential text messaging service, called BUZZ US, to young people aged 11-18 across North Yorkshire.

Visit COMPASS BUZZ website Call 0800 008 7452

Kooth

Kooth online counselling is a free, safe and anonymous service for 11-18 year olds where young people can chat 1-2-1 with counsellors.

Visit Kooth

Recovery College Online

The Recovery College Online provides a range of online educational courses and resources to people with mental illness.

Visit Recovery College Online website

Getting Urgent Help

If you’ve seriously injured yourself or taken an overdose call 999 or get immediate medical advice from NHS 111.

If you are in a crisis and feel like you can’t cope, speak to somebody straight away. Search below for help or see the Urgent Help page for contact details for the North Yorkshire single point of access Crisis Service.


Some things you might find useful

NHS

Feeling Lonely

The NHS website has information and tips on tackling loneliness.

Visit the NHS website

Lonely Not Alone

Get involved in the annual Lonely Not Alone campaign to encourage more young people to talk about loneliness.

Visit Lonely Not Alone

Mind

Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Mostly for 16’s and over, their website has a wide range of information, tips and experiences of loneliness.

Visit Mind Call 0300 123 3393

Young Minds

Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. If you think that loneliness is affecting your mental health, they have a range of topics on their website.

Visit Young Minds website

Action for Children

Action for Children provide practical and emotional care and support for children and young people and ensure their voices are heard.

Their website has some top tips for dealing with feeling of loneliness.

Visit Action for Children Call 01923 361 500

The Mix

The Mix offers expert and peer-to-peer support on physical and mental well-being issues for under 25’s, including loneliness.

Visit The Mix website Call 0808 808 4994

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