Did you know 1 in 4 adults feel alone some or most of the time? The longer that they feel like this, the more at risk people are of having a mental health problem.
This year for Mental Health Awareness Week 9th-15th May, the theme is loneliness. The week focuses on helping support those who feel lonely, giving advice on how to cope, and helping people share their stories.
This week is very important particularly because our society has changed a lot in the 2 years the pandemic has been around. The pandemic has created a sense of loneliness and isolation in everyone's daily life that people aren't used to. Today, daily tasks that were normally done in person, have now adapted to be over the phone or via web cameras or even work has adopted the WFH style of working. Reducing loneliness is a huge step to helping create a mentally healthy society, that has grown to be isolated at home.
How does loneliness affect our mental health?
Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling that can leave people feeling isolated and needing more of a connection with others, more than normal.
The impact that loneliness has had on people's mental health can be very negative, especially if it lasts for a long time. Loneliness can lead to an increase in mood disorders like depression and anxiety, as well as problems with sleep.
How to support mental health at work
In the workplace or at home there are several ways to help support the mental health of employees.
All companies need to adopt a culture where communication is encouraged, in a non-judgemental way, so that employees can feel like they can trust them enough to share any issues they are having. Whether an employee is working in a workplace or at home, the more open a company is about mental health issues, the easier it is to communicate.
Working from home employees can find it difficult to boost team spirit or create meaningful connections within the team, which can lead to isolation. Online activities such as daily check-ins, weekly team sessions, or fun quizzes can help WFH employees get to know their team better and feel more included.
It is so easy for an employee at home to work overtime or burn themselves out by not taking regular breaks. Encouraging employees to take breaks can help increase their productivity, reduce stress, and helps promote positive well-being.
How to cope with loneliness
Dealing with loneliness can be difficult, but there are some things you can do to help cope and prevent negative feelings that can happen.
Firstly, try doing something you enjoy or find a new hobby that you can take up that is fun or fulfilling. Keeping busy and spending time doing something you enjoy can help elevate a person's mood and stop the feeling of loneliness from creeping in.
Talking to people or trying to connect with new people can be hard when you feel lonely, but just even saying 'hi' to someone you know while out and about or even a stranger can help. There are other opportunities to connect with people, such as forums, social groups, group classes, or through a new hobby.
If you have a pet, they can be a great way to manage loneliness. Animals give unconditional love and support but they add a structure to a person's day and are a way to connect with other pet owners. Interacting with animals it has been known to reduce stress levels.
Social media can be a good or bad thing for people. If you use it as a way to communicate with a digital community and to share your passions with people, it can be a positive aspect of a person's life. However, turning off social media can let people focus on those around them than online friends. Depending on how you feel about social media is how you can use it for the best for you.
At Fusion People
At Fusion People we have recognised the need for mental health training and support, which has lead to six Mental Health First Aiders being trained so far. We are working towards further members of staff being nominated and additionally our Training School in Warrington which now offers Mental Health First Aid courses.
Useful links and resources
Other useful sites: