Get help with loneliness
We provide local support services, workshops and resources to help understand, and overcome living with loneliness.
If you are experiencing loneliness, please know that you are not alone.
More than 9 million people in the UK say they often, or always feel lonely at some point in their life, and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, feelings of loneliness have only gotten worse.
Loneliness can feel like an isolating and never-ending experience, but we are committed to ensuring that everyone affected by loneliness has somewhere to turn to.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of loneliness, we may be able to help.
On this page you'll find information about:
Anyone can experience loneliness, regardless of age or background, but the reasons why will vary from person to person. Taking the time to truly understand what loneliness is, and how that may differ from person to person can make a significant difference in someone's recovery, and how we learn to better support ourselves and others.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness is a mood, a state of mind and a lived experience. No matter what your age or economic background, loneliness can affect us all in different ways.
What are the symptoms of loneliness?
Often, for people experiencing loneliness, socialising can become difficult. Some describe symptoms of loneliness as feeling:
- a loss of confidence,
- isolated and alone,
- without purpose,
- and in the most extreme cases, loneliness can cause thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
In episode one of the Kind Place podcast, we explore what it means to be lonely by hearing from the lived experiences of people who are living with loneliness.
Watch all episodes here.
The impact of loneliness
Loneliness is personal, and it will feel different to everyone, but chronic loneliness and isolation can have a serious impact on someone’s health and wellbeing.
Loneliness affects people psychologically, biologically and a person’s behaviour. It impacts how an individual thinks, feels and can influence how an individual acts.
Our Trapped in a Bubble research on loneliness found that loneliness either caused or exacerbated serious symptoms such as mental illness, anxiety, negative emotion, low energy, stress and self-isolation, and is likely to increase your risk of death by 29 per cent.
What are the causes of loneliness?
The causes of loneliness vary and there can be different barriers for people in creating meaningful connections. Feeling alone and isolated can also be the result of experiencing a major life change.
Causes of loneliness include, but are not limited to:
- becoming a new parent
- leaving hospital
- mental health
- language barriers
- low income
Other causes of loneliness include:
- the impact of lockdown
- limited mobility
- relocating or moving home
- a busy work and lifestyle
- severed relationships
- lack of positive social connections
How to cope with loneliness
There is no one way to tackle feeling lonely, but there are a few things that may be able to help.
Support for people experiencing loneliness
1. Red Cross support line
The Red Cross support line is staffed by experienced Red Cross volunteers who can provide emotional support in more than 200 languages.
The support line is free and confidential, and is available 10am-6pm daily. Call 0808 196 3651 to speak to a friendly Red Cross support line volunteer. For support outside of these hours 24-hour emergency help is also available.
2. Connecting With You, Scotland
If you are aged 18 and over, living in Scotland and experiencing loneliness or social isolation, the British Red Cross Connecting With You service can help.
Our friendly and experienced volunteers will help you to reconnect with your local community by providing telephone, online and in-person support (where needed) to help rebuild your confidence, feel better connected, and more involved in your local community.
For more information about the service call 0770 950 2127 between 10am – 4pm, Monday to Friday.
3. Support at home
Being discharged after your hospital stay can be a challenging experience, especially if you don't have any support with you at home.
Our Red Cross volunteers can help to collect you, and will make sure you have everything you need for your first 24 to 72 hours when you arrive at home.
Our volunteers can provide up to 12 weeks of support, depending on the level of need, and are trained to provide emotional and practical support.
We also provide additional emotional support in some areas in the UK. Contact your local support service here.
How to support others
Even though one in five people admitted to feelings of loneliness, more people than we think are suffering in silence. A Red Cross survey of 1,000 people found that almost 60 per cent of respondents admitted they didn’t feel confident talking about loneliness, and a third more said they’d never admit to feeling lonely to anyone.
Here are a few ways that we can help to better support others:
How to help someone who is lonely
Having a chat over a cup of tea, or helping a lonely person to join a local community group could be all it takes to help them feel better.
Our Loneliness Action Group brings together government, charities and businesses who work together to stop loneliness across the UK.
During the coronavirus pandemic, kindness has been keeping us all together. Here are eight ways you can help your community.
How the Red Cross is tackling loneliness
We know that loneliness is one of the biggest public health crises of our times. That’s why the British Red Cross is working to tackle loneliness right now.
We have a clear vision of what needs to be done in the future and will continue to fight for change to ensure that everyone is supported.
The British Red Cross and Co-op partnership (2015-19) supported the Loneliness All Party Parliamentary Group. This cross-party working group helps develop policy to combat loneliness and ensure people have the support they need to make meaningful social connections.
Read about the progress we’ve made to build a society where no-one feels alone.