New Research into the Psychology of Loneliness

New Research into the Psychology of Loneliness

The Campaign to End Loneliness believe that people of all ages need connections that matter. Having the friendship and support we need is a fundamental part of our wellbeing and when loneliness becomes entrenched particularly in later life, it can be hardest to overcome.

Loneliness happens when the social connections that people want don’t match their actual experience of relationships with others. It is an emotional response, and as such, the report advocates that loneliness interventions draw more on the insights from psychology than is currently the case.

In an attempt to address the current gap in the understanding of the psychological and emotional aspects of loneliness, this report has been written in response to a commitment made in the Government’s loneliness strategy – to improve the evidence base about what causes loneliness and how to tackle it.

The Psychology of Loneliness: Why it matters and what we can do report makes the following six practical recommendations:

  1. To develop public health messaging that emphasises the importance of meaningful social relationships in later life, with a call to action to pay attention to them as we age.
  2. To incorporate the current thinking on how thoughts and feelings influence people’s experience of loneliness within the range of existing interventions.
  3. Development and promotion of psychosocial learning opportunities promoting wellbeing and resilience in later life.
  4. To ensure social prescribing staff are properly trained on the emotional and psychological aspects of loneliness and how best these can be addressed.
  5. Expansion of older people’s access to specialist one-to-one counselling, so that older people’s access to IAPT is equalised and in line with the rest of the adult population.
  6. Increase one-to-one active listening and counselling support, particularly in relation to bereavement and depression.

To read the report in full, please click here.

Find out more about The Campaign to End Loneliness here.

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