Our world has been turned upside down, isolation has become the new norm. For those who have never experienced isolation before, it has been a hard year. However, can you imagine how hard it has been for those who have lived with isolation that being, they have been without or had little interaction with the rest of mankind. The current COVID-19 situation has probably made them feel more disconnected from human interaction and can have a devastating impact on them in terms of their mental health, self-esteem and motivation.
As humans, we need interaction with other humans. We need to feel positive regard, this helps us to feel valued and in turn builds self-esteem and confidence. Loneliness can be debilitating, it can have an impact on social skills, communication skills and cause a person to feel demotivated. You may say it is like a vicious circle for the person who is feeling lonely or isolated.
For those who are not lonely, close your eyes and for a minute imagine if you had no loved ones around you, no friends, no work colleagues and you had no transportation. Your day started with having breakfast on your own whilst looking out of the window and seeing the world carrying on as though you was not part of it. The day goes on, the same as breakfast lunch and dinner come and go. You periodically look at the phone in hope that someone may contact you, but this never happens.
The television is your only hope, but it is a constant reminder that you are on your own, so you go to bed feeling that all is hopeless and wondering why you are here? The next day you get up start with your breakfast then it is time to go shopping. As you walk to the bus stop, people are going on with their day as though you are invisible. With a sigh, you feel even more alone, as you see a mother bend down to wipe her child’s face and smile at their child: as you walk down the street and in to the supermarket.
Everyone has their heads down and getting on with their lives, which is what we do. Everyone is busy. You get home then your whole routine starts again. Now, can you imagine this loneliness with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD or any other type of mental health and physical disability? This is a recipe for disaster.
In today’s society, we should not have people feeling lonely, isolated, forgotten or invisible. If you are feeling lonely and are struggling with loneliness it is important to tell someone whether it is your GP, nurse etc. seek out the help you deserve, if you have access to the internet and computer write down all the agencies that may be able to support you. When you go to the supermarket make an effort to smile and interact with other people even if you don’t know them. Is there a hobby that you can take up (it does not have to be academic).
For those who are not isolated, if you know someone who may be isolated or lonely, reach out to them. Let them know that you see them, take a minute to ask how they are. Remember you may be the only person they see that day. Make it count for them, let them see and feel that the world they live in is not a prison, and that they can reach out and interact with the world if they chose to.
If we all just speak to one person who is feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected from the world. How better would that person feel and how would our world be a better place to live. Lets help to make people feel visible, connected and heard.
Obviously due to Covid-19, we are all restricted as to what we can and can’t do. However, we can still go for a walk, we can invite a person in our street who may be lonely as long as we are 2 metres apart. We can still say hello from the footpath to them. Ask if they need anything, and swap numbers so that we can check in with them from time. Having a WhatsApp group with all the neighbours on.
This is a good way of helping someone to feel connected with the world. Remember, its not just isolation they may struggling with, they may be struggling with their mental health. This is why human interaction is most beneficial for someone who has a mental health difficulty or is lonely and isolated. Below are some support agencies that may help someone who is feeling lonely, isolated or has a mental health.
The Silver Line Helpline: 0800 470 80 90 (free) open every day and night with a free friendship call weekly for older people.
Re-engage Helpline: 0800 716543 for older people
Age UK Helpline: 0800 169 6565
Way – Widowed and Young https://www.widowedandyoung.org.uk/contact-us/ for people 50 and under who are widowed.
Mind Helpline: 0300 123 3393for mental health advice.
The mix Helpline: 0808 808 4994 for people from the age of 13-25 mental health support.
The Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 24/7 helpline for anyone who needs to be listen to without judgement.
MeetUpMondays http://www.meetupmondays.org.uk/ free coffee morning all over UK.
Next Door https://nextdoor.co.uk/ is a social network for local communities.
The Cinnamon Trust Helpline: 01736 757 900 this is for those who would like to volunteer to walk dogs and help with pets this is a network.
Supportline Helpline: 01708 765200 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org support for those feeling lonely.
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/ for young people struggling with their mental health.
Mind UK young people Tel: 020 8519 2122 11-18 years old support
Mind Cymru young people Tel: 029 2039 5123 11-18 years old support
A message from me
I am a big believer in paying it forward, a single act of kindness can go a long way and have a huge impact on someone’s life. Being lonely, isolated, feeling invisible or having a mental health difficult is no fun. So, let us be the change that we would like to see in the world. Pay it forward ask those words “how are you today”