Can The Silent Struggle Of Loneliness Be Beaten?

How To Fight The Effects Of Loneliness

Loneliness. Credit: SB Arts Media/

The world has never been better-connected thanks to technology, yet according to some statistics loneliness has reached epidemic levels.

The growing problem of loneliness was acknowledged by the UK government in 2018 when the then Prime minister, Theresa May, appointed the world’s first-ever Minister for Loneliness, an idea which was soon followed by Scotland and Wales.

What Is Loneliness

The famous humanitarian, Mother Teresa was  once quoted as saying: ‘The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.’

Loneliness is a complex and often misunderstood emotion. It’s not simply the absence of company but a deeper, more profound feeling of disconnection. Despite our hyper-connected world, loneliness continues to affect people of all ages and backgrounds no matter where they live. Feelings of loneliness can also deeply impact the health of the sufferer.

In a report by Dr Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States, he said: ‘The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.’

How Prevalent Is Loneliness

According to figures published by the Campaign To End Loneliness: ‘In 2022, 49.63 per cent of adults (25.99 million people) in the UK reported feeling lonely occasionally, sometimes, often or always.’ Of those, ‘Approximately 7.1 per cent of people in Great Britain (3.83 million) experience chronic loneliness, meaning they feel lonely ‘often or always.

Solutions To Loneliness

Thankfully there are now many charities dedicated to helping those who suffer from loneliness for whatever reason. Advice can be found from Groups such as Age UK, listening services such as Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Sliverline which specifically offers help to people over the age of 55 as well as numerous online ex-pat forums.

There are also basic tips that loneliness sufferers are encouraged to do such as: Joining a club, becoming a member of a hobby group, and volunteering.

One resident of Malaga, Michael McCann said: ‘I think I am lucky I live in the Lew Hoad Tennis Village (Mijas, Costa del Sol) and I still play. The Urbanization is made up of permanent residents and holidaymakers.’

The 79-year-old British expatriate added: ‘Of course I have Blackie (Michael’s beloved dog) and friends so I don’t have time to think about loneliness. I think being active is important, so looking after your health is important.’

Loneliness can be a crippling and debilitating condition, but it’s not insurmountable. By understanding its complexities and seeking support from friends, family, or professional organizations, people can find ways to connect and enrich their lives.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.