Today is the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, which the Mental Health Foundation has held for more than 20 years. Each year, the Foundation focuses on a different aspect of mental health — this year, it is loneliness.
The Foundation says that:
“Loneliness is affecting more and more of us in the UK and has had a huge impact on our physical and mental health during the pandemic. Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health, and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this.”
Mental Health & Loneliness
While we often associate loneliness with the elderly, it is an issue that can affect anybody—many of us may have experienced it while working from home – and we know from staff surveys conducted that many of us missed the connection with our teams. The pandemic likely aggravated this situation for people who lived alone, particularly when socialising was prohibited.
Of course, some people remain lonely even though the restrictions have been lifted. It can be brought on by life events such as bereavement or relationship breakdowns, work changes or relocation, and circumstances such as being estranged from family, a lack of friendships, or belonging to a minority group and living alone. This can have a significant impact on people’s mental health. However, it is a problem receiving more attention, with public opinion shifting toward the concept that it should be tackled as a priority.
More information on loneliness, how it affects mental health, and how to overcome it will be released by the Mental Health Foundation this week. You can read more on their website at mentalhealth.org.uk
“Everyone’s experience of loneliness will be different,” Mind explains, adding that loneliness isn’t the same as being alone. Some people find being alone tricky, while others find it simple. When you feel that people don’t understand what you’re about, being in a crowd might still be lonely. Loneliness is linked to mental health issues because it can trigger a loop in which a person develops social anxiety, which reduces their capacity to interact with people and leads to depression, anxiety, stress, sleep problems, and low self-esteem.
So how do we combat Loneliness?
To avoid being overwhelmed, Mind says that change should be slow at first. We must also aim to look after ourselves and avoid comparing ourselves to others. Peer support is essential and talking therapy can also be helpful.
If you or someone you know feels lonely, check out Mind’s suggestions at mind.org.uk/manage-loneliness
Providing Employee Assistance
For full-time Auctus Management Group employees: if you need more help, or if loneliness (or anything else) is affecting your mental health, don’t forget to contact the Employee Assistance Programme through their website at healthassuredeap.co.uk through their app, My Healthy Advantage; or by calling 0800 028 0199. You will need the Username and Password to access these services.
Mental Health First Aiders Support
Don’t forget that we have Mental Health First Aiders across the business if you just want to talk about how you’re feeling. They are unable to provide advice, but they will direct you to the most appropriate service to begin the process of addressing any personal difficulties.
Also, by following this link – lighthousetraining.corsizio.com anybody can access free masterclasses presented by the Lighthouse Club on self-care, anxiety, resilience, and many more.