SOCIAL ISOLATION & LONELINESS
Social Isolation and Loneliness
Social Isolation and Loneliness are two different concepts, but often go hand in hand when it comes to mental health. Social Isolation refers to the separation from social or familial contact, community involvement or access to services. Loneliness however, can be understood as a person having a feeling of a sense of lacking of these things to the extent where they are wanted or needed. Both challenges can go hand in hand although they are different.
It is possible for someone to be isolated without feeling lonely, and lonely without being isolated. For example, an older person could be physically isolated (living on one’s own, not seeing many people) without feeling lonely, a person could be isolated by choice and want physical separation. In a similar way, someone could feel lonely when surrounded by lots of other people. For example, if someone has experienced a loss and family has gathered for support, you can still feel lonely.
The good news is that there are lots of ways that this can be helped. There are lots of services around that have been created in order to improve loneliness and social isolation, all of which can offer helpful advice and support; some often host events which can bring people suffering in the same way together. You can check out lots of support services available on our Who Else Can Help Me? Page.
*Some information gathered from www.nhs.uk and www.ageuk.org.uk/.