Anyone can be affected by loneliness which can impact on your mental health. Older people especially are at risk of suffering from loneliness. According to Age UK, over two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member.
However, loneliness can affect anyone. People can become socially isolated for many reasons, such as injury, age, no longer being the centre of the family or social group, leaving the workplace and retirement, the death of a spouse, family member, or friend, or due to a disability or existing mental health condition, such as social anxiety or Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD).
Research has found that people who experienced long-term social isolation were at an increased risk of depression, heart disease, strokes, alcoholism, drug abuse, and the onset of dementia, than those who had regular social contact.
In 2010, a survey by the Mental Health Foundation found loneliness to be a problem among young people. It found 18-34 year olds were more likely to feel lonely, worry about feeling alone, and to suffer from depression due to loneliness than over 55s. One factor found in loneliness among the young was heavy use of social media, particularly the tendency to present an idealised version of their lives online. As a result, often comparing their friends’ seemingly perfect lives with their own, leading them to withdraw socially.
Support groups available are:
A study carried out by the Mental Health Foundation and Cats Protection in 2011 found that 87 percent of those who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their wellbeing, while 76 percent said they could cope with everyday life better than before, because of the company their cat provided. Half of cat owners felt their cat’s presence and companionship was the most helpful factor in their wellbeing, while a third described having a cat as a calming and helpful activity.
Caring for a pet can also make you feel valuable and needed, as you are responsible for the care of another. Dogs especially are effective at this, as they require daily walks and a lot of attention. Walking a dog often leads to conversations with other dog owners, and can help you to stay socially connected with the world.
Age UK York
Action for Happiness
NHS live well
01904 655 888 – local call charges apply
116 123 – free of charge
Freephone 0808 808 4994
The Silver Line
0800 4 70 80 90
Helpline on free phone 0800 319 6789
Contact the Elderly
Freephone 0800 716546
York Neighbours offer 3 types of support, help with practical one off jobs, a regular phone call and individual and group outings. For more information contact them at:-
The Raylor Centre
Telephone: 01904 891627
They are open 9am to 3:30pm Monday-Friday. At busy times you may get their answerphone but leave your name and number and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
Ways to Wellbeing – Connects people to local community support to make them feel better.
York Mind - Offers a range of services one of which is a mental health & wellbeing activities programme.
You can find many providers of complementary healthcare by searching on line but here are just a few:
Wellbeing in York- http://www.wellbeinginyork.org
York Natural Health - http://yorknaturalhealth.co.uk/
York Clinic - http://www.yorkclinic.com/
Northern Acupuncture College and Clinic - https://nca.ac.uk/
Please note that we are not specifically recommending these organisations.
Why not check what community activities are available in your area through the Live Well York Community Activities Directory?
Last reviewed: 22/10/2019