Words by GOLD newsdesk
Loneliness affects the mental health of millions in the UK but more than one third say they would never talk about it, according to a recent study from the Mental Health Foundation marking the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
The MHF is calling on the UK government to address the “chronic underfunding” of public health by restoring the Public Health Grant to the levels seen in 2015/16 and include commitments on loneliness in its new 10-year mental health strategy plan.
The study of 6,000 UK adults found that a quarter of those surveyed felt lonely some or all of the time during April 2022, a quarter of whom admitted to feeling ashamed about their feelings. One in eight UK adults also admitted they had experienced suicidal thoughts and feelings because of loneliness.
“Loneliness is a significant public health issue and as a society, we can and must do better to help people who are lonely and prevent mental health problems,” commented Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, MHF. “An important step is to address stigma and misconceptions about who experiences loneliness so that people don’t feel ashamed about how they feel. But we also need the Government to step up the momentum in tackling loneliness across society.”
The MHF is using the hashtag #IveBeenThere to encourage social media users to share their own experiences in an effort to break the stigma around admitting to feelings of loneliness.