The Theme for this years’ Mental Health Awareness Week is Loneliness. The importance of which is signified by the fact that one in four adults feel lonely, either some or all of the time (Mental Health Foundation, 2022).
Causes of Loneliness
All of us will recall a time when we have experienced loneliness. It is a personal experience meaning there is no single cause for feelings of loneliness and equally, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to it. Mind (2022) state that loneliness is not always the same as being alone. They use the example that some people may choose to be alone with limited contact with others and live happily, whilst others may have lots of contact with others, or be in a relationship and/or part of a family but still experience loneliness.
Specific life events may be the catalyst for loneliness. This includes when we experience a loss, which may be a bereavement or a breakdown in relationship. Other life events that can trigger loneliness include changing jobs, moving to a new location or retiring from work and losing that social contact.
Regardless of social situation and amount of friends and positive relationships, some people will experience constant feelings of loneliness. The longer the feelings of loneliness persist, the more likely you are to have poor mental health.
The first stage of managing loneliness is to try and understand your triggers. This is because understanding triggers of loneliness and poor mental health in general may help find a way to feel better. Mind suggest various tips for managing loneliness, including:
- Taking it slow
- Making new connections
- Trying peer support
- Trying to open up
- Talking therapies
- Social care
- Looking after yourself
What works for one person won’t work for the next person. Similarly, what worked one time for you, may not work the next time. It is all about finding what works for you in that specific situation. If something doesn’t work for you, you can always try something else. With regard to the above suggestions, looking after yourself is something that we should all try to do more often to improve our general and mental wellbeing. Looking after yourself means to focus on what your mind and body need so things like getting plenty of sleep each night, having a balanced diet, incorporating physical activity into our daily routine, spending time outside and avoiding things that don’t have a positive impact on us.
The Mental Health Foundation’s mission this Awareness Week is to support people living in loneliness by letting them know that their mental health matters. People are encouraged to share their experiences so that we can all tackle loneliness together. This is something that Maxwell Hodge fully support. As an employer, we try to encourage our people to be open and honest with how they are feeling at work so that we can put necessary resources in place. We facilitate a friendly and warm culture from the very top of our organisation by senior management having an open door policy for all staff. We view this as a vital way of running our organisation as we spend so much of our lives at work, and therefore want everyone to have an input and feel that they can share their experiences. Doing so can help people manage loneliness, and can have a positive impact on overall wellbeing.
We hope that you have enjoyed our short blog. For mental health support, you can check out both the Mental Health Foundation and Mind, using the links below, and access different resources that will help tackle loneliness and support your wellbeing. In addition, if you are particularly struggling with loneliness, you can find a group in Liverpool to join by accessing link no. 4 below.