UK Lockdown – 25% of adults experiencing loneliness
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 12, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for everyone. As the world went into lockdown, people had to face isolation and social distancing measures. However, what many did not anticipate was the toll that loneliness would take on mental health. According to a recent study, nearly a quarter of adults in the UK have experienced feelings of loneliness during the lockdown period.
Loneliness: A Growing Concern
The study revealed some alarming statistics about the impact of loneliness on different age groups. It found that more than four in ten young people, aged 18 to 24, have felt lonely. Additionally, one in six older people over the age of 55 reported feelings of loneliness. These numbers highlight the widespread nature of this issue.
The Long-term Effects
Loneliness has more than doubled over the course of the lockdown, indicating the growing severity of the problem. The Mental Health Foundation, which conducted the study, expressed concerns about the long-term implications for mental health. While the immediate priority is ensuring physical safety, policymakers must also address the mental health repercussions of loneliness.
Dr. Antonis Kousoulis, Director at the Mental Health Foundation, emphasized the significance of addressing this issue. “Our data reveal that millions of people in the UK are experiencing feelings of loneliness, which is a key risk factor for developing or worsening mental health problems,” said Dr. Kousoulis. He further highlighted that the longer the pandemic continues, the more these feelings may become long-term, making them harder to manage.
The Impact on Young People
Perhaps one of the most surprising findings of the study is the impact of loneliness on young people. Close to half of young adults surveyed expressed concerns about feeling lonely, highlighting the need for special attention and support. It is well-known that young people are already at a higher risk of self-harm and suicide, and loneliness exacerbates these risks.
Furthermore, loneliness itself is a major problem with severe consequences. Prof Tine Van Bortel of the University of Cambridge compared its impact to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity. These findings underscore the urgent need for interventions to address the issue of loneliness across all age groups.
Real-time Analysis and Action
The Coronavirus: Mental Health and the Pandemic research project aims to monitor the mental health of the UK population in real-time. This ongoing analysis will cover multiple topics, including the unequal impact on at-risk groups and the key drivers of risk to mental health. The project intends to provide valuable insights that can inform policy action and help address the mental health challenges faced by the nation.
In conclusion, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life, it is crucial to recognize the toll that loneliness is taking on mental health. The widespread feelings of loneliness experienced by people of all ages during the lockdown highlight the urgent need for support and intervention. Addressing this issue will not only alleviate individual suffering but also contribute to building a mentally healthy society for all.