If you are feeling lonely, we know that’s really tough, but we’re really glad that you’re looking for information. That’s because learning more about loneliness is a step towards making a plan and changing your situation. Find out about ways to tackle loneliness, and about where you can get help.
What is loneliness?
Feeling lonely is something that most of us will experience during our lives, either briefly or for a longer time. Loneliness is painful and distressing, and it happens when we feel that we don’t have enough relationships, or when the relationships that we do have are not meeting our emotional needs.
Loneliness is different from social isolation. We can be isolated (alone) but not feel lonely, and we can feel lonely when there are lots of people around us.
Loneliness happens to a lot of us. In New Zealand 16.5% of people over 15 feel lonely at least some of the time. Loneliness can be the result of life changes like bereavement, moving to a new area, or losing a job, or it can be due to other things that make us vulnerable. Examples are being on a low income, being young or very old, being a migrant, or living alone. Find out more.
How do we end loneliness?
Whatever the cause, if we feel lonely, it’s important to do something about it. Being connected to others helps us to survive. Just like thirst or hunger, loneliness is a cue that we need to do something to take care of ourselves. If we don’t then it can damage our health. Researchers have found that loneliness is as bad for our health as moderate smoking and is more harmful than obesity or lack of exercise. Find out more about the health effects of loneliness.
Over the past decade there has been an increased focus amongst researchers, policy makers, and the media on loneliness and how to tackle it. That’s good, because we’re learning more about what works to tackle loneliness, and we’re seeing governments investing in addressing the issue. See what we’re saying to government.
Ending loneliness is not just a government responsibility though. It’s something that we can all contribute to. Thank you for visiting our website. Keep exploring to find out more about how you can get involved, and about what we can all do:
Together we can end loneliness one person, one community, one workplace at a time.