How can being lonely affect your mental health?

Loneliness and social isolation can have a significant impact on your mental health. Studies have shown that people who are socially isolated experience more stress, have lower self-esteem and are more likely to have sleep problems than people who have strong social support. All of these things can have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing, possibly even causing or contributing to the development of a mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression. Social isolation has also been linked to rarer mental health problems, such as schizophrenia. If you are concerned that your feelings of loneliness are developing into a mental health problem, you may find it helpful to talk to your family doctor.

Sometimes the feeling of loneliness can feel so overwhelming that you have suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing such suicidal thoughts, remember that you can pick up the phone at any time and call one of the crisis hotlines provided below (see ‘Useful contacts’).

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