The NSPCC has been highlighting the issue of loneliness in young people. Childline has reported increased calls of this nature and it is important that we understand how significant long-term loneliness can be in children (and all generations). Unfortunately loneliness often impacts our behaviour by increasing our feelings of withdrawal and reducing our confidence to socialise, therefore providing a vicious cycle that can be difficult to change. Loneliness can happen at any time, even if someone is very busy and surrounded by people. It can happen at any time of year, not just during the winter. Talking to your child about their feelings, engaging with them in activities that they have chosen (even if this doesn’t involve socialising) and accompanying them to social events (if they wish) will be be really helpful in raising their confidence and easing their feelings of being alone.
If you are a child reading this and wish to speak to a kind person about your feelings, but you are not sure who, then you can call 0800 1111 or go to the Childline website.
For older teenagers and adults, the Samaritans are also a helpful point of contact during periods of loneliness, you can call them on 116 123 or go to the Samaritans website.
I am a child and adolescent psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist based in Arundel, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.