Mental Health Awareness Week 2022
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 is ‘Loneliness’.
What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is when we feel we do not have the meaningful relationships we want around us.
It is something we can all experience from time-to-time, throughout our lives, and will be different for everyone.
Although feeling lonely is often connected with being alone, they do not mean the same thing, or always happen together. You can feel alone when spending time with others, feeling that they don’t understand you or that you don’t fit in.
Loneliness and Mental Health
When we feel lonely most or all of the time it can have a serious impact on our wellbeing and our ability to function in daily life. We may experience low-mood and low self-esteem.
Sometimes if we are already experiencing poor mental health and do not feel understood, this can lead to feeling lonely.
Find out more about loneliness here:
Young Minds: A Guide to Loneliness
Understanding and Tackling Loneliness
On the surface loneliness may seem like a simple concept, but in reality, the root causes can often be complex and effect our mental wellbeing.
There are a number of ways that we can learn more about understanding loneliness and how we can challenge and combat it:
Over the next few days we will look more closely at how we can make meaningful connections, with ourselves, with others and with the world around us, to reduce feelings of loneliness.
It is important that, when we are no longer taking part in and enjoying our everyday activities, we talk to someone.
If you are worried about yourself or a friend, it is important to talk to a trusted adult. This could be an adult at school, at home, or another trusted adult.
Finding Connections….with ourselves
Explore how you feel
Sometimes, we may find it difficult to understand how we are feeling and why. This is ok.
To connect with our feelings, we could try:
- Writing down or drawing what we are feeling
- Looking at information on how to spot different feelings
- Listening to music
Be kind to ourselves
It is important to show kindness to ourselves, especially when we are not feeling our best.
- Have a favourite treat
- Dance to a favourite song
- Play a game with friends
- Go for a walk outside
- Practice Mindful Breathing
Finding Connections….with others
Talk to someone
There are many support services that we can reach out to if we are feeling lonely as well as our own support networks, including family, friends and staff at school.
Try this activity to remind you of these connections and support that you have around you.
Other people who will listen
Whether you want a quick chat or more focused help, the trained team at The Mix will be there to help.
Text THEMIX to 85258
or use one of their other helpline platforms.
If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, trained Shout Volunteers are here for you, day or night.
Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, anonymous text support service.
Whatever you're going through, you can call Samaritans at any time, from any phone for free. They will listen. They won't judge or tell you what to do.
Call free on 116 123.
Finding Connections….with the world around us
Do things that we enjoy
There are many ways we can connect with the world around us, which may help us to feel less lonely.
Find people with similar interests to us
Joining a group, whether based on a hobby, faith, or a skill, can help us feel more connected to ourselves and others.
Social media can help is feel connected and be a great way to share interests but can sometimes make us feel lonely too. If this is the case, then take a break – unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel lonely or upset and follow accounts that empower you. (See the attached guide for more details about loneliness online.)
Show gratitude to ourselves and other
Gratitude means feeling thankful for all the different things and experiences we have in our lives.
It doesn’t have to be big things – the little things matter! Try keeping a gratitude diary – noting 3 good things that happen each day, these can serve as a reminder of the positive things in our lives.
It includes being kind to ourselves and others.