Loneliness 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 advice on how to help others or yourself if you are feeling lonely. 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 friends and family
Sometimes a friendly chat is all you need to feel better.We can all help each other to avoid or reduce loneliness, simply by taking the time to connect with each other. Phone family members and friends or use online video programmes so you can meet virtually, and talk face to face.
- Think about people you know who might be finding this time particularly difficult – those who are self-isolating for long periods or who have other challenges in their lives – and make a special effort to connect with them. You could suggest making the call 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.
- Alternatively, an email or a text can start a conversation. Is there someone you have lost contact with? This might be the time to get back in touch.
- If you’re worried about what to talk about, think about mutual interests and arrange to read the same book or watch the same TV show, so you can discuss it.Online games and quizzes are another great way to keep in touch.
- If you don’t have friends or family you can talk to about loneliness, or you need to talk to someone impartial about your feelings, you can contact the organisations listed on our support page.
Look for clubs and groups online
Being part of a group that already has a shared interest with you is a great way to make connections, even if you’re not in the same room.
- If you are part of a club or group, be welcoming to newcomers and seek to involve others in the conversation. Remember that it is hard to be new and to reach out if you are feeling unsure of yourself, so make it as easy as possible for people to feel welcomed.
- Many clubs, from choirs to writing groups and exercise classes, offer a range of activities and events online. Search for the organisations and activities you might be interested in and share links with friends and family too, who might also want to get involved.
Help someone else feel connected
Volunteering is a really valuable way to meet people and connect. There are lots of ways to offer support to others who may be in a similar position to you, or who’s circumstances have become a lot harder.
- You could sign up to talk to people over the phone, or help with practical tasks like collecting shopping and medicine, while following the social distancing guidance.
- If you pass neighbours on the street, take the time to smile, wave and chat from a safe distance. 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.
- Sending a letter or card is a great way to reach out to a friend who might be feeling lonely, and receiving something in the post can really make someone’s day.
- Read guidance on volunteering safely and explore links to online platforms with volunteering opportunities. To help you get started, visit the organisations listed on our get support page.