Most of us experience feelings of loneliness at some point in our lives. It might be because we spend more time by ourselves than we want, or because we feel disconnected from the people around us.

Isolation is when we are separated (or feel separated) from the people and things around us. We may be isolated because we choose to be separated from others or because of a situation we can’t control (such as moving home or bereavement).

It is possible to feel lonely and isolated when surrounded by other people. All kinds of things can set you apart – your sex, your colour, your height, your weight, being serious about school, or just looking different. You can also feel isolated because of how you think and feel, if you believe others don’t feel or think the same.

Stay connected

If you are struggling with isolation, you might feel like just giving up and cutting yourself off from other people. This is likely to make the lonliness and isolation worse. Try to stay connected with your community or to find activities where you can meet people who have the same interests as you. Doing things with others can really help – the more things you get involved with and the more people you get to know,  the less likely you are to feel less isolated and alone.

If you have no family or friends living nearby or have lost touch over the years, this can be a source of isolation and loneliness. Why not take action to get in touch, even if it’s been a long time. Pick up the phone, write a letter or send an email. The good news is that others may benefit from your call too!

Everyone feels a bit lonely at some stage or other - you can change this by making the first move. The key is to not wait on others to get in touch.