Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection
This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme for this year is loneliness. A very timely theme with many of us having experienced loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic. For some of us, the social distancing measures required to keep us safe from Covid took a toll on our mental health, while others have found that they coped well with solitude during the pandemic and perhaps even enjoyed it. However, even before the pandemic, loneliness was a growing problem in the UK. Research conducted in 2016 by the Co-op in partnership with the British Red Cross found that loneliness effected an estimated 9 million people across the UK.
To support Mental Health Awareness Week’s aims to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it, let’s take a closer look at some of the resources on loneliness which are available in the Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection.
Mental Health Awareness Foundation’s Unlock Loneliness Campaign – 15 things to do if you feel lonely
This short but beautifully put together online guide from the Mental Health Foundation’s Unlock Loneliness Campaign is aimed at younger people and written by the Mental Health Foundation Young Leaders. This guide offers tips and advice to help you cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation. These tips include:
5. You deserve quality relationships: make building quality relationships a priority over a quantity of relationships. The bonds you have with people can help to combat loneliness. Take time to strengthen your relationships. Tell yourself you deserve this.
12. You can find your community: by joining a group whether based on a hobby, religion, spirituality or an interest can help you ‘find your tribe’. There are people out there waiting to connect with you. Who are just as scared to make the first move.
Although this guide is aimed at younger people, it is full of kindness and good advice that many of us could benefit from, even if we are not so young anymore. If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness why not give this guide a quick read?
Lonely less : how to connect with others, make friends and feel less lonely - Gill Hasson
Lonely less is a practical guide on how to combat loneliness, with lots of suggestions for ways to meet new people and advice on what to do to develop these new relationships. Hasson is aware of how much the Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all and Lonely less has a dedicated section on working from home and loneliness at work. Chapter 10 of this book “Spending Time Alone” also has an interesting section of ideas on how to do something for others from home, helping you to feel connected with other people even when you are home alone.
Navigating loneliness: how to connect with yourself and others - Cheryl Rickman
In Navigating Loneliness, Cheryl Rickman examines the causes of loneliness and the different kinds of loneliness which we can all experience. Rickman then goes on to give advice on reframing our attitudes towards loneliness and time spent on our own. She invites us to see it as an opportunity to invest in ourselves and really get to know ourselves. By building this relationship with ourselves, we are then in a better position to build relationships with other people. This book is written with great kindness and contains lots of practical exercises to help people who are struggling with feelings of loneliness to connect better with themselves and with others.
Loneliness explored podcast
If you want to learn more about what causes feelings of loneliness, the Loneliness Explored podcast is a good place to start. In each episode, experts who study loneliness or who’s work tries to combat loneliness, are invited to answer questions and give their thoughts on what causes feelings of loneliness. They discuss the effects on the pandemic and social distancing on our sense of wellbeing and talk about how the organisations that they are part of are trying to help people struggling with loneliness. This is an engaging podcast which explores how complex loneliness is and what we as individuals and as a wider society might be able to do to help people experiencing loneliness in our communities.
The Senate House Library Wellbeing Collection also has a section which contains personal stories. These are books written by authors who have experience challenges to their own sense of wellbeing and mental health. If you have been struggling with feelings of loneliness, you might find that some of the books from the personal stories section reflect your own experiences and help you to feel less alone. You can find details of all the personal stories books and many other resources on the SHL Wellbeing Collection website.
We continue to add new items on loneliness and on other wellbeing topics to the SHL Wellbeing Collection. If you would like to recommend books or resources for the Wellbeing Collection, we would be very happy to hear your suggestions – simply add your recommendations here.