This winter, the idea that hundreds of thousands of people, particularly the elderly will be affected by loneliness is getting a lot of media coverage. Rightly so; this is an issue that isn’t going away, nor will it disappear when we pack up the Christmas decorations and get back to day to day life. Loneliness can affect people at any age and any time and we need solutions throughout the year.
We are regularly asked for help by people under the age of 60. Requests come from those who are chronically lonely. They don’t have someone to talk to in the middle of the night, nor do they fall into a group for which there is an obvious form of support. They are not old or ill. They are simply lonely and unable to find the help they are seeking.
One of the things we have learnt through years supporting people out of loneliness is that human contact makes a real difference to those struggling to feel part of the world. Peer support, or people helping each other is one of the most effective means of enabling meaningful connections to be made between individuals and groups.
This week we are launching The Loneliness Forum, an online discussion group for adults at risk of, or experiencing loneliness to come together, share experiences and find ways of supporting each other. The Forum, a safe space for anyone 18+ will be moderated by friendly Community Guides who are there to make everyone feel welcome.
Christmas and New Year is a time when people feel lonelier and so we are launching this forum this month. If you are feeling lonely over the holidays, whether you are on your own or with family and friends, drop by the forum, say hello and share with like minded people.