The theme for this year’s Mental health awareness week is ‘Loneliness’.

Loneliness affects millions of people every year, has a major impact on mental health and has become a societal problem.

Human beings are social creatures and it’s important that we nurture our connections with others. We have a need to have a sense of belonging and community. Feeling lonely isn’t the same as being alone, it is about feeling disconnected and isolated from others. Our connections and social relationships are key to good health and wellbeing.

Some tips for addressing loneliness:-

  • Stay connected with friends and family
    • Supportive relationships are good for our mental health
  • Reconnect with old friends and those you haven’t heard from for a while
  • Speak to someone new
  • Join a group, association or club – This is a good way to meet new people who may or may not share similar interests.
    • You can also develop new skills which improve mental health.
  • Get support
  • Volunteer – It’s a great way to give back, meet people and connect with other people.

In a work context, line managers have a critical role to play in helping people overcome loneliness.

  • Line managers need to have regular check ins with employees especially those who work remotely in any capacity.
  • It’s advisable to also encourage social events which are not centred around work and preferably away from the workplace where possible.

An organisation ought to be encourage time from work for individuals to engage in volunteer and charitable activity plus have a policy whereby this can be classed as paid time.

Do you ever feel lonely? If so, what to do to address it?

Jolene King is Principal Consultant of 246 King Consulting (https://246king.com). She is a trained Occupational Psychologist, experienced Human Resources professional, qualified Mental Health First Aider, a mental health advocate and is trained in mental health conditions and exercise, health and nutrition. She can be reached at jking@246king.com.