Loneliness is a subjective, unwelcome feeling that happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships. It is often associated with social isolation, but people can and do feel lonely even when surrounded by others.
Loneliness affects us all at some point and can become a severe problem when it becomes chronic, which, over time, can grind us down, affecting our health and wellbeing and damage our ability to connect with others.
Over the years, studies on loneliness have reached different conclusions on the levels and overall distribution of loneliness across the UK and various groups. A survey commissioned by the Jo Cox Foundation (2017) on Loneliness estimated eight million (35%) men feel lonely at least once a week, whilst nearly three million (11%) feel lonely daily. However, more than one in 10 men admitted to feeling lonely in the survey, also admitted they would not disclose it to anyone.
The research, commission by the Royal Voluntary Service (2017), also reveals triggers to loneliness. Those who have felt or feel lonely said the situations that made them feel that way were: moving away from friends and family (18%), going through a break up (17%), being unemployed (17%) and following the death of a family member (17%).