Lockdown and loneliness

Posted on: 9th June 2020

‘Lockdown’ has affected us all in different ways.

This week, the results of a survey published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shed light on the impact of lockdown on loneliness in the UK.

Between April and May 2020, the equivalent of 7.4 million people said that their well-being had been affected through feeling lonely at some point over the seven days before completing the survey.

These people were more likely than others to be struggling to find things to help them cope and were also less likely to feel they had support networks to fall back on.

Chronic loneliness

Surprisingly though, the number of people experiencing chronic (long term) loneliness did not change during lockdown. During the month, 5% of people say that they felt lonely "often" or "always" - about the same proportion as before the lockdown happened.

However, the survey also found that people with an underlying health condition, people who are disabled, and those in bad health are more likely to experience chronic loneliness.

Rebecca West, the British Liver Trust’s Liver Nurse Manager, says: “Our nurse-led helpline service often hears from liver patients who are experiencing loneliness. This is exacerbated at the moment by Covid-19 as many are having to socially distance or shield.

“Some liver patients have reported that they feel ‘forgotten’. We often help to support and empower them and discuss ways that they can remain in touch with others. This may be via an online support group, peer-to-peer support, accessing talking therapies or extra help via their GP’s.”

If you’re feeling lonely or anxious during the lockdown, please remember that we’re here to help.

Along with our nurse-led helpline, the British Liver Trust is also running a growing number of virtual support groups for liver patients across the country. If you’d like to join in, please get in touch with us.

For general tips and advice on managing loneliness, you might also like to visit Mind’s website.