One in eight Victorians aged 16-25 have reported a very high sense of loneliness, according to 2015 VicHealth research.
Research also shows that older individuals aged 75 years and above also commonly experience loneliness, though it can affect people at any age.
Loneliness and social isolation can take a heavy toll on our mental health and physical health and has been linked to anxiety, depression and chronic illness. Loneliness is increasingly common and can strike even if we have lots of friends or a big social network.
Next time you’re feeling isolated, try Lifeline’s tips to curb loneliness:
- Connect or reconnect with friends and family – staying in contact with loved ones can prevent loneliness and isolation. If your family don’t live nearby, technology can help you stay in touch
- Get out and about – regular outings for social functions, exercise, visiting friends, doing shopping, or simply going to public places can help
- Get involved in your community – Try a new (or old) hobby, join a sports club, enroll in study, or learn a new skill. Try looking online, at your local TAFE/Community College, library or community centre for things in your area that might be interesting to you
- Volunteer – helping others is a great way to help yourself feel more connected
- Consider getting a pet –pets are wonderful companions and can provide comfort and support during times of stress, ill-health or isolation
- Get support – If loneliness and social isolation are causing you distress, you should discuss your concerns with a GP, counsellor or someone you trust.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. You can call their 24-hour crisis line 13 11 14 to confidentially chat to trained Telephone Crisis Supporters.
Gather My Crew is a free, online rostering tool that helps family, friends and community members to organise support for someone who needs help.
Headspace works with young people to provide support to get them back on track and strengthen their ability to manage their mental health. Services can be accessed in 100+ national Headspace centres, online or through clinical programs across the county.
Men’s Shed Association – there are 987 Men’s Sheds across Australia, which are community-based, non-profit, non-commercial organisations that are accessible to all men and whose primary activity is the provision of a safe and friendly environment where men are able to work on meaningful projects at their own pace in their own time in the company of other men.