Mental Health Awareness Week – Loneliness
Published on 16 May 2022 01:19 PM
Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, runs from Monday 9 - Sunday 15 May and is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health,
The theme for this year is 'Loneliness'. According to the Mental Health Foundation, ‘One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.’
Research reveals that 2.6 million adults across Great Britain report that they feel lonely “often” or “always” 1. Older people are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and isolation and the effects on mental and physical health that accompany them. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. Furthermore, one in four older people have symptoms of depression that require treatment, but less than one in six older people with depression seek help from their GP2.
This week we have been campaigning locally to raise awareness, and signpost to support that is available.
Melanie Wicklen, Chief Executive, Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough commented: “Our mental health affects how we think and feel, and how we cope with life’s ups and downs. As we move through different stages of life and our circumstances change, our mental health can change too. We’ve all faced significant challenges over the last two years, but it is important to remember that while lockdown has eased, the psychological consequences of Covid are going to remain for a very long time. Many older people are not ready, or emotionally resilient enough, to fully embrace pre-pandemic life yet.”
How can we help?
Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough (AgeUKCAP) services can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Our staff support individuals’ well-being which helps to build confidence and increase independence which often leads to reduced feelings of loneliness. We also have 500+ volunteers, who dedicate their free time to support independence, living at home, engaging with the local community and helping to make links so that individuals can take part in social activities, meet other people, volunteer, develop and sustain friendships. All these elements help the aging well process and contribute to reduce the challenging impacts of loneliness and social isolation.
Please take a look at Our Services in the county and contact us if you’d like support.
You may like to Volunteer for us. Joining us as a volunteer is rewarding and makes a real difference. We are always recruiting for volunteers in Sharing Time, the Telephone Befriending Service, Day Services and looking for support in the Friendship Clubs – all of which help to reduce loneliness and isolation among older people and improve mental health. To volunteer, contact email@example.com or phone 01223 221925.
Age UK (the national charity) encourages older people who are concerned about their wellbeing and mental health to visit “Your Mind Matters” webpage for help and advice - Your Mind Matters
During our local awareness campaign Melanie Wicklen spoke on local radio and you can listen to the short interview HERE
We also delivered a presentation to staff and stakeholders at University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. We presented various research and you can access the presentation slides in the link below.
There is clear evidence that loneliness has a detrimental impact upon health. We strive to raise awareness of our charity’s provisions and that of the voluntary sector, presenting the community support available for holistic and wrap-around care, and how well-being can be improved, so more serious interventions can be avoided or delayed.
Understanding Loneliness and Impact