‘Lift someone out of loneliness,’ NHS urges during Loneliness Week

People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have been urged to look out for signs of loneliness in friends and family this week as the UK marks Loneliness Week 2023 (12-18 June).

A new research study on the health of people in England, published in May 2023, found that 6% of the population – that’s one in every 16 people – said they often or always felt lonely.

The figures were released just weeks after the United States’ Surgeon General released his own 85-page report warning of loneliness as a public health epidemic which has harmed individual and societal health in the West.  Dr Vivek Murthy’s view was supported by a research finding that feeling socially connected was linked to a 50% drop in the risk of early death.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, deputy medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“People who are lonely often find it very difficult to admit, but talking to someone is often the first step towards resolving the issue.

“We also don’t realise that there are strong connections between the feeling of loneliness and our physical health.

“Whether it’s your regular barista, the friendly dog on your walk, or the shopkeeper down the road, everyday moments of connection matter. They allow us to make connections, feel happier and less lonely.

“It matters at work, on the commute, for new parents, for Freshers’ Week, in the street, or at your local café, because we are not just colleagues, we are people: individuals who make up a community.

“So why not do something this week to tackle loneliness?  Maybe you could have lunch with your team at work, in person or virtually.  Or why not stop and chat for five minutes with someone you see regularly but don’t know well?  Or maybe meet up with a friend for a cuppa?”

For more advice on dealing with your own loneliness, or to help someone else with theirs, please visit www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters.


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