The Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant lockdowns had many different adverse effects on the mental health of people across the globe, one of these being a rise in individuals identifying as lonely. Widespread feelings of loneliness are not limited to during the pandemic, however, and social isolation is not necessarily the cause of feelings of loneliness. For many people, being alone can be rejuvenating and comfortable. However, feelings of loneliness and mental health often go hand in hand, and it’s important to understand how feelings of loneliness might be impacting your mental health.
Loneliness Impacts Some Groups More Than Others
While everyone will experience feelings of loneliness at some point in their lives, prolonged feelings of loneliness can cause significant distress to one’s mental and emotional well-being. Prolonged feelings of loneliness are disproportionately experienced by certain groups. These include people who already have existing mental health conditions or psychiatric disorders, individuals who are over the age of 65, people who are widowed, people living with a disability, or individuals going through significant life changes. These feelings even regularly occur in the younger population and were also exacerbated as a result of Covid-19, with one recent research study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation reporting that over 2/3 of British teenagers identified feeling lonely most or some of the time.
How Does Loneliness Impact Mental Health
One of the ways that loneliness can impact mental health is through its linkages to anxiety, specifically in social situations. For those who experience social anxiety, it can often trigger the avoidance of social situations, which in turn enhances feelings of loneliness and isolation. Feelings of loneliness can also be linked with depression and contribute to cognitive declines. For those who already have pre-existing mental health conditions, loneliness can exacerbate these mental health conditions and cause them to feel even more separated from those around them. Finally, individuals who are feeling lonely and isolated often don’t feel connected to the available support systems that are either in place, or could be options to help with deal with challenges they are having.
If you’ve noticed the impact of loneliness on the mental health of you or someone you love, then it might be time to seek out some support from a professional. At ACT Teletherapy, our knowledgeable and highly trained staff will work with you to find ways to feel less isolated and more connected with those around you. Get in touch to make your first appointment today and let us support you on this journey toward feeling less alone.