It struck me this week how mainstream TV presenters are all talking about the impact of social isolation and loneliness on people’s health and mental wellbeing as one of the main consequences of Covid-19.
People can become very lonely when isolating from their communities and families. We are told this is the ‘new normal’. But for many, feelings of loneliness have been the everyday normal for many years.
When I first started working at Brightlife, you would rarely hear loneliness being discussed on Breakfast TV or lifestyle programmes… because only a few years ago, there was still a stigma around saying you felt lonely … as if you were attention-seeking or partly to blame (particularly for the older generation who were brought up to just ‘get on with it’).
But if any good has come out of this pandemic it is a new understanding around loneliness; that it is a serious health issue that requires professional, person-centred support.
I’m also beginning to appreciate how all the work we’ve been doing at Brightlife for the past 5 years is now helping people understand the mental challenges of the pandemic.
There’s still a lot of research going on to understand the ‘internal’ experience of loneliness as outlined in the Campaign to End Loneliness Report The Psychology of Loneliness: why it matters and what we can do. This has never been more relevant. If people can understand and identify their negative thoughts and feelings (which become overwhelming over time) and focus on positive psychology, mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, the risk of loneliness is reduced.
Nobody should ever suffer alone. There is support out there and if people are feeling lonely, they should reach out to professionals, family, friends and community. With the support of the Campaign to End Loneliness, Age UK Cheshire, Silver Sunday, Cheshire West and Chester Council and with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, Brightlife continues to support people out of loneliness.
We do understand how you are feeling and we can help you. So please get in touch.