According to a 2021 study commissioned by the Greater London Authority (GLA), at least 700,000 Londoners are severely lonely – that’s one in 12 people. As Robin Hewings, Programme Director for the Campaign to End Loneliness, who co-authored the GLA report says, “Severe loneliness has a massive impact on people’s lives and their health and mental wellbeing. It overlaps with depression and anxiety and feelings of despair and alienation.”
There are lots of reasons why people experience loneliness. For example, if you’re a student who has moved away from home, a new parent with little time, a member of the LGBTQ+ community who faces discrimination or an older person who lives alone, you might feel lonely at times. The cost of socialising is also becoming a factor as people tighten their belts during the cost of living crisis. In a recent Metro article, Tracey Robbins, UK Delivery Manager, Eden Project Communities, commented, “I just really worry that people see connecting with others as a luxury… people begin to feel lonely without real human connection and that’s when you can see people cut themselves off from the ‘real world’.”
With recent research by the UK Government identifying direct links between chronic loneliness and mental health distress, there is a renewed effort to tackle loneliness in the UK. Good Thinking is here to help Londoners boost their mental health by providing free NHS-approved wellbeing apps, self-assessments, ‘how to’ guides and other resources.
If you’re feeling lonely, you might find it useful to start with these five steps to improve your overall mental wellbeing. You can find more details in our Five ways to good mental wellbeing guide and our Five ways to good mental wellbeing for different faiths guides.