Feeling lonely or disconnected is a natural reaction to the current coronavirus pandemic, and it’s important that you don’t blame yourself for feelings of loneliness, at this or any other time.
This page provides practical advice on how to help others or yourself if you are feeling lonely. If you feel unable to take these steps, you can also contact one of the helplines on our support page. You can read guidance on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during this time on gov.uk, along with the latest government advice on coronavirus.
Keep in touch with those around you
– Talk to friends and family – sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference. An email or a text can start a conversation, so if there is someone you have lost contact with, this might be the time to get back in touch.
– If you can’t reach out to friends or family, or you want to talk to someone in a similar situation, the organisations on our support page are there to help you. If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, you can use the NHS mental health and wellbeing for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools. Every Mind Matters also provides simple tips and advice.
– If you are struggling with loneliness whilst self-isolating, the NHS Volunteer Responder service can help arrange a friendly call with a volunteer.
Join an online group
– Being part of a group or club that already has a shared interest with you is a great way to make connections. Think about the activities you do that are part of who you are and look for groups centred on these activities. This could be gaming, singing, cooking, sport – anything that you enjoy doing and talking about with other people.
– Ask friends or colleagues if they are involved in any groups – it can be helpful to know one other person who can tell you where to start and introduce you to the group.
– If you are part of a club or group, be welcoming to newcomers and seek to involve others in the conversation. As groups begin to meet again in person, remember to think about how you can welcome others back, as people may be lacking confidence.
Help someone else feel connected
– Think about people you know who might be finding this time particularly difficult or those who may be anxious about restrictions easing, and make an effort to connect with them. Sending a text, email or card can really make someone’s day. Or you could suggest making the check in a regular part of your weekly routine and plan the next one.
– Remember that feeling lonely for a long time can make it harder for people to make new connections. It may be difficult for people experiencing loneliness to respond to your friendly contact at first, so be patient and kind.
– If you pass neighbours or acquaintances on the street, take the time to smile, wave and chat. You might want to offer to swap phone numbers or set up a street WhatsApp group to stay in contact. In some areas the NextDoor app can be used to connect with neighbours.
– Volunteering is a great way to meet people and connect. Read guidance on volunteering safely and explore links to online platforms with volunteering opportunities. NHS Volunteer Responders and Age UK Telephone Befrienders are a good place to start, but for more information, visit the organisations listed on our support page. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving your home, remember that in many cases you will still be able to volunteer over the phone or online.
Get in touch
– There are lots organisations ready to provide guidance and support – find the right one for you.