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What we have to say about your health and well being
15
Jul 2022
Coping with loneliness
Anyone, regardless of age, can experience loneliness at some point in their life. We can feel lonely whether we live alone or with others, in a bustling city or a quiet rural area. No matter when you feel like you are struggling, you shouldn't put the burden on yourself. In total, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes or often lonely in England. This equates to twenty five million people.
The impact of COVID-19
It is hardly surprising that levels of loneliness have increased after more than a year of lockdowns, social withdrawal, and limitations on meeting with others. In the years before the pandemic, 5% of people said that they felt lonely "sometimes or often,". By the beginning of 2021, that number had risen to 7.2%, or 3.7 million adults, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Health risks of loneliness
-Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
-Loneliness, living alone and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
-Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
-Loneliness and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke
-Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure
-Loneliness with severe depression is associated with early mortality and loneliness is a risk factor for depression in later life
-Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia
Sometimes it can feel easier to reach out to someone else who may be feeling lonely. There are plenty of simple actions you can take to help lift someone out of loneliness and in doing so, it might help you to feel less lonely too. Here are a few organisations that offer befriending services:
Age UK
Through its befriending service, Age UK, a joint initiative of Age Concern and Help the Elderly, seeks to eliminate loneliness. The older person who calls in is paired with a befriender who shares similar interests, offering ongoing company. The volunteer could pay the older person a visit in their home or go with them to a café, the theatre, or a doctor's appointment. Any age volunteer befrienders are also welcome.

Helpline: 0800 169 6565
The Mix
The Mix provides support for anyone between the ages of 13 and 25 who is facing any kind of difficulty, including issues with money, relationships, drug use, homelessness, or mental health.

Helpline: 0808 808 4994
The Samaritans
For everyone who wants someone to listen without judgement or pressure, The Samaritans operate a 24/7 helpline.

Helpline: 116 123
The Silver Line
This 24-hour hotline is free and available for older people in the UK. In addition to connecting callers to nearby organisations and services, staff can provide information, friendship, and guidance. Weekly friendship calls or emails are offered by Silver Line Friends, while weekly group calls on various topics are provided by Silver Circle.

Helpline: 0800 470 80 90
sources
Campaign to end loneliness
Office for national statistics
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