Isolation/Loneliness

Humans are innately social creatures. Since the dawn of time we have always worked in groups to take care of each other, build societies and ensure our survival. Being social is such an intrinsic part of being human that being without social connection can actually be bad for our health, studies say as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!


Loneliness is hard to overcome on your own. It can be important to have a friend to help along the way.

What it feels like

Being lonely can make you feel empty, alone and unwanted. Not having anyone to share your day with, your thoughts, feelings, concerns, having no one to share good or bad news with, feeling like no one would notice if anything happened to you, or having anyone to share moments with you can be heartbreaking. Feeling like everyone around you is connected but struggling to find people you feel ‘in tune’ with or feeling left out can be incredibly hard on a person’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

What you can do to support in the first 24-48 hours: 
  • Get in touch

  • See if they want to talk about how they’re feeling – listen to what they say without judgement

  • If they don't want to talk try again another time

  • Ask them what emotional and practical supports they may need

Providing Support 

Loneliness impacts us emotionally before anything else. Your friend may feel low on friends, so being there for them will make a huge difference.

Emotional Support
  • Let them know you care

  • Let them talk about how they feel

  • Talk through their worries, concerns and plans for the future

  • Let them know the ways you are able to support them (emotional, practical, financial)

  • Encourage them when they are attempting to move forwards

  • Encourage them to keep up regular social events and hobbies

Practical Support
  • Make time to catch up with your friend

  • Help them make a social network map to identify every individual they know and community they are a part of. This can help them realise how many people they can reach out to for connection.

  • Offer to accompany your friend to any group activities they want to try – fitness groups, art classes, etc. This can help them less nervous about attending alone and help them make new connections.

1 Week on what now?

Ongoing feelings of low self worth and low self esteem can prevent a person from reaching out to others, the very thing they are looking for. Some people may even feel anxious about attending social occassions and become more withdrawn. 

Providing support in the long term
  • Keep in touch

  • Keep providing emotional support - listen to what they say without judgement

  • Stay socially connected – make time for catch ups and outings together

Emotional Support

Sometimes the quality of our relationships can help make up for the lack of quantity.

  • Make sure to let your friend know you care about them

  • Let them talk about how they feel

  • Encourage them when they are attempting to move forwards and make progress

  • Encourage them to keep up regular social events and hobbies

Practical Support
  • Make time to catch up with your friend

  • Offer to accompany your friend to any group activities they want to try – fitness groups, art classes, etc. This can help them less nervous about attending alone and help them make new connections.

  • Encourage them to reach out in their local community – taking up volunteering can help them find a new way to spend their time and meet like-minded people.

  • Prompt them to connect virtually with friends and family who live far away

  • Invite your friend to social gatherings with your other friends – dinners, drinks, potlucks, playdates

  • Animals can provide a valuable form of companionship – if your friend is interested encourage them to adopt an animal or ask them to pet sit yours.

Who can help?
Service that can help

Beyond Blue

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Reachout.com

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Think Mental Health

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Service Directories

Ask Izzy

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WA Connect

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Professional Helpers

Counsellor

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General Practitioner (GP)

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Psychologist

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