Loneliness pigeons

Recognising loneliness

Loneliness is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Nursing and midwifery are uniquely placed to recognise loneliness and help people to re-establish their social connections. 

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health. Lack of social connections can increase the likelihood of early death by 26%. That risk is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is higher than that caused by obesity and physical inactivity. 

Measuring loneliness

British Red Cross (2019) Assessing progress in tackling loneliness. This independent report from the Loneliness Action Group assesses progress made against the Loneliness Strategy so far. 

Office for National Statistics (2018) Introduction: Developing national indicators of loneliness. Why loneliness should be investigated, the rationale for national indicators across all ages and how we define loneliness.

What Works Wellbeing. Loneliness. Evidence, resources and guidance on understanding and tackling loneliness.

Children and young people

Childline. Feeling lonely. Information on how to trust others, living in care or moving around, and what you can do if you are feeling lonely.

Office for National Statistics (2018) Children’s and young people’s experiences of loneliness: 2018. Analysis of children's and young people’s views, experiences and suggestions to overcome loneliness.

The Children's Society (2019) Loneliness in childhood. Exploring loneliness and well-being among 10-17 year olds. 

Adults

Mind. Loneliness. This page explains loneliness, including the causes of loneliness and how it relates to mental health problems. It gives practical tips to help manage feelings of loneliness, and other places you can go for support.

National Federation of Women’s Institutes (2018) Link Together to alleviate loneliness. A campaign toolkit to help support loneliness.

NHS. Feeling lonely. Resources to support loneliness.

Nuffield Health. 10 ways to take action against loneliness. Useful tips on how to take control of your loneliness.

Older adults

Age UK. Loneliness and isolation. Understanding the difference and why it matters. 

Campaign to end loneliness. Threat to health. This page outlines the main research into the impact of loneliness on physical and mental health and wellbeing.

People living with cognitive impairment

Alzheimer's Society. Loneliness and depression. Advice and practical tips for people living with dementia who are feeling lonely or depressed. 

Campaign to end loneliness. Loneliness and dementia

Further resources

Loneliness girl

Loneliness congress resolution