This Mental Health Awareness Week, could you lift someone out of loneliness?

Local health leaders are backing a national drive to tackle loneliness and improve mental health and wellbeing among young adults during national Mental Health Week (9-15 May).

Research suggests that people in this age group are at a higher risk of feeling lonely compared to other age groups, but less likely to seek advice and support

The ‘Lift Someone Out of Loneliness’ campaign encourages people to connect with others and take simple steps to improve mental wellbeing such as connecting with friends, joining groups, helping others and doing things they enjoy.

Dr Jonathan Hayes, Clinical Chair at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) said:

Good mental health and wellbeing is a high priority for local health services so this campaign is very welcome at a time when many people are feeling the effects of loneliness.
As well as providing a wide range of services to support those suffering with mental health problems, we also want to help residents help themselves and enable them to access the right support.

Feeling lonely is something that all of us can experience at any point and can have a huge impact on our wellbeing. We want to reinforce the message that it is OK not to be OK and that help is out there if you want it.
Residents who are concerned about their own mental health should, in the first instance, contact their GP for advice. But there are also many other resources and services that residents in our region can use.

These resources include:

24/7 Support & Connect helpline (0800 0126549) – a free confidential service staffed by experienced counsellors, who you can talk to and they will listen. They offer emotional support and can connect you to organisations available in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.

• If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low mood or excessive worry, VitaMinds can provide you with advice, guidance and support. VitaMinds provides a range of evidence-based talking therapies as well as guidance and advice on community services that can support you in your local area.

• The NHS Mental Health Hub, where users can take a quick online self-assessment test, which will indicate whether they are depressed and need medical help, or are simply feeling low.

Well Aware – an online guide to health, wellbeing and community services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire

• The BNSSG CCG website that lists a large range of organisation in our area that offer support

The Mix offers free confidential help for under-25s to get support online and via a helpline (0808 808 4494)

Advice for loneliness

1. Keep in touch with those around you

Talk to friends and family. Sometimes a friendly chat can make a big difference, whether someone is around the corner or further away.

2. Join a group

Find a group with a shared interest. Being part of an offline or online group or club is a great way to make connections and meet people. Think about activities that you would like to try out and look for groups centred around these.

3. Do things you enjoy

Filling your time doing more things you like can stop you from focusing on feelings of loneliness and is good for your wellbeing.

4. Share your feelings – but do not compare

Being able to talk about how you feel with others can help with loneliness and hearing a familiar voice or seeing a friendly face makes us feel less isolated.

5. Help someone else feel connected

Reach out to others – think about people you know who might be feeling lonely and make an effort to connect with them.

Think about making time to volunteer – it’s a great way to meet people and connect, and seeing the benefits of your actions can really help to boost your own mental wellbeing.