Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, is encouraging constituents to talk about loneliness this Loneliness Awareness Week.
Loneliness Awareness Weeks aims to get people actively talking about loneliness to help them improve their mental health and connect with others.
With social restrictions in place following the outbreak of Covid-19, being isolated from others can have a significant impact on mental well-being. While normally associated with older people, over 2.4 million adults feel lonely across the UK of all ages.
Loneliness can not only be detrimental to your mental health, but also physical as studies have shown that it can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and worse for you than obesity. Those who are lonely have an increased chance of suffering from dementia, heart disease and depression and can lead to an early death.
#LetsTalkAboutLoneliness was launched a year ago and in April the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Oliver Dowden, ringfenced £5 million for charities who were combating loneliness during the pandemic.
Last week, the Prime Minister also announced that single adult households would be able to form an exclusive ‘social bubble’ with one other household after they had spent nearly 12 weeks alone, or only with their children.
While the Government meets its 5 tests, and the reproduction rate remains below 1, some social distancing measures have been eased, yet many remain isolated from their loved ones and families including those clinically shielding.
As families remain separated and those shielding are unable to physically meet with the wider community, this Loneliness Awareness Week is more important than ever to virtually connect with others, chat and check-up.
“While we remain separate to protect us physically from Covid, we need to ensure that we are taking care of our mental health equally.
“Social distancing is incredibly tough. I know many, including myself, miss seeing our families and friends, celebrating birthdays and being together.
“It is important to be open about how we are feeling and how this impacts us, to check up and chat with neighbours, friends and family and make sure everyone is ok both emotionally and physically.”
There are already fantastic local organisations available for Gosport, Stubbington, Hill Head and Lee-on-the-Solent residents from NHS Volunteer Responders who you can call and chat to the Gosport Voluntary Action Group befriending service.