What is loneliness?

As social beings, most of us feel the need for rewarding social contact and relationships. One common definition of loneliness is that it is the feeling we get when our need for this type of contact is not met.

However, loneliness is not the same as being alone. You might choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people. Or you may have lots of social contact, or be in a relationship or part of a family and still feel lonely.

‘Loneliness is not feeling part of the world. You might be surrounded by loads of people but… you are [still] lonely.’

Loneliness can have a significant impact on your mental health. It can contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Having a mental health problem can also make you feel lonely. For example, your condition may mean that you find social contact difficult or that you find it hard to maintain friendships, or you may feel isolated because of stigma and discrimination.

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