Loneliness is increasing in adults, often leading to depression according to the latest research from the Mental Health Foundation.
Depression caused by loneliness has become a widespread epidemic among Brits aged between 18 and 34, according to alarming new research by the Mental Health Foundtion.
A massive 53% of UK people have reported feeling depressed because of loneliness, and around 50% said they feel like the society in general is getting lonelier.
The report also suggests that loneliness affects women more than men, as females tend to feel that they don’t have enough time to spend with their friends.
So why, with social networking at an all-time high, are people feeling so alone?
Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation says the reasoning varies from person to person, but work is often a leading factor.
‘People are putting work first, especially in the current economic climate, and work long hours. Maybe they don’t feel like socialising when they get home and spend their spare time watching TV or sleeping,’ said McCulloch.
Losing your job is also a key trigger in loneliness as this can cause people to lose contact with colleagues and withdraw from friends.
It may seem ironic that loneliness is increasing at the same time as social networking, however experts argue that online contact it is not enough to sustain real relationships that fulfil our emotional needs.
‘Social networking sites may work as a means of maintaining friendships for a few months, but not in the long run‘, says McCulloch. ‘You need to see people, too.’
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to help yourself if you are feeling lonely or depressed.
‘It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in feeling this way,’ says Martin Haggard from the University of Nottingham.
Joining classes, groups or simply getting out to meet people face-to-face goes a long way to reconnecting with people, and may help to overcome feelings of loneliness and prevent the spiral into depression.