12th May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week (9th -15th May) is an annual event that encourages the entire United Kingdom to focus on improving mental health. Since 2001, the Mental Health Foundation has been responsible for generating focus and topics around this campaign.

Over the last few years, Mental Health Awareness Week has focused on several topics regarding mental health, such as body image (2019), kindness (2020), plus nature & mental health (2021). In 2022, the focus this year is loneliness, understanding how it affects our mental health and the strategies we may take to combat it.

Long-term loneliness can negatively affect our mental and physical health, which has effects not only on individuals but also on society. In addition, long-term loneliness can create a downward slide: loneliness makes it challenging to connect, find happiness and overcome negative thoughts. According to research, loneliness is linked to more GP visits, more prolonged hospital admissions, a higher probability of receiving residential care, and the costs of associated disorders, including depression and diabetes.

At The Living Room, we understand that loneliness can be a crucial factor that might lead people to addiction. Humans are social beings, and a lack of interaction with friends and family may create a profound sense of emptiness in a person's leading to depression. The person may then turn to drink or drugs to fill the void. Unfortunately, their addiction issues are frequently undetected because they indulge in this activity behind closed doors.

Loneliness can be used as a relapse trigger when someone is going through their recovery journey. Therefore, loneliness is a critical hurdle that needs to be addressed and faced. That's why we always ensure to create a strong support network plus easy availability and access to meetings and gatherings. Also, our counsellors are always open to communication to show you are not alone and you have support along the way.

Anyone can be lonely, but certain conditions raise our chances of experiencing severe or long-term loneliness, which can negatively affect our mental health. Being bereaved, single, living alone, unemployed, and having a long-term health condition are all risk factors for loneliness. Understanding these risk factors will help us treat loneliness more effectively and recognise it as a problem that can impact everyone.

The Mental Health Foundation released the 'Loneliness & Mental Health Report'. It examines strong links between loneliness and mental health, followed by the stories of nine people who often or always feel lonely. The report is very insightful, demonstrating the difference in conditions, scenarios, and events leading to loneliness.