What is loneliness?

As social beings, most of us feel the need for social interaction and relationships. One common definition of loneliness is that it is the feeling we get when our need for social interaction is not fulfilled.

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. You might choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people. Conversely, you may experience lots of social interactions on a regular basis, or be in a relationship, or be 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. With social anxiety, for example, you may find social contact especially difficult or you may find it extremely hard to maintain interpersonal relationships. Alternatively, you may feel isolated because of stigma and discrimination against mental health problems.

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