Loneliness: It’s more than just being alone

Written by Milly Bennett-Day Tuesday 01 February 2022
What is loneliness, how does this present with students and what can you do to help yourself and others?
Student sat at a desk with headphones in whilst writing in a notebook. Kooth

Nearly all of us will have felt loneliness at some point in our lives; cases of loneliness are on the rise, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that 7.4 million adults feel lonely all or most of the time.

Maybe we are alone and haven’t spoken to anyone properly for a while. Perhaps we don’t have a support network and don’t have regular social contact. Or perhaps we are surrounded by people but can’t really connect with them or be ourselves.

Covid has of course compounded these issues for some. Students in particular have experienced significant turmoil in the last two years; periods of enforced isolation have meant that making friends or feeling a sense of belonging at university may have been really tough. If you are feeling like this, know that your feelings are understandable and normal, and though it may feel like it, you are definitely not alone.

It could be that your feelings of loneliness are down to an absence of social contact, but loneliness can also represent a deeper emotional disconnect from the world and people around you.

It can make you feel:

  • Like nobody understands you
  • Lost
  • Empty
  • Distressed
  • Anxious
  • Like you don’t have any meaningful connections, even when you socialise

Experiencing thoughts and feelings like this can make it difficult to connect properly or form connections with others, which can then increase loneliness.

Keep reading to learn what causes loneliness, its impact and top tips for handling it


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