Loneliness is an issue that can affect us all at any point in our lives. While it is not a mental health issue in itself, mental health problems, particularly depression and social anxiety, can cause loneliness. In turn, loneliness can cause mental health problems. It also increases the risk of low self-esteem, sleep problems, stress, high blood pressure and is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
You might want to consider trying different things to help you connect with others and your environment – find what works for you. You could try volunteering, joining a musical group or getting outside to spend time in nature.
Did you know that giving to others can reduce your blood pressure and improve your sleep? Practising random acts of kindness, volunteering time, or simply saying ‘thank-you’ all work wonders for your wellbeing and enhance your connections with others.
Marmalade Trust is the UK’s leading loneliness charity for all ages and the only charity in the world specifically dedicated to raising awareness of loneliness.
The Jo Cox Foundation includes a directory of resources for those battling loneliness.
Every mind matters provides support, advice and further links to help combat loneliness.
IMAGO offers befriending and support through CAMEO (come and meet each other) which is an online group for people aged 50 or over.
IMAGO also offers a telephone befriending service which will get you talking about areas of interest, with a view to helping you identify other areas or groups which may be able to help you.
An IMAGO Social Prescribing Link Coordinator may introduce you to a community group, a new activity or a local club.
Simply Connect Medway can help you find local community services, activities and support that can help you with whatever issue you’re struggling with.
Live well Kent and Medway allows you to search for groups available in your area.
Kent Sheds provides an open, friendly place where men can meet, chat and undertake activities such as DIY projects or gardening.
Kent and Medway Listens is working to improve the mental wellbeing of everyone in Kent and Medway. As part of the project, the Better Mental Health Network produces a regular newsletter.
West Kent Mind runs a wide range of different social and activity groups.
Kent Volunteers allows you to find volunteering opportunities in your local area.
IMAGO also has lots of volunteering opportunities, either through other organisations in West Kent through their Volunteer Centre for West Kent, or at Imago Community.