Apr 28 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week 2022: 5 Tips for Loneliness

In anticipation of Mental Health Awareness Week, we took the opportunity to catch up with one of our incredible Inclusion Advisors, Hannah Martin, who specialises in Student Mental Health and Wellbeing, who provided us some top tips to help look after yourself, especially in relation to this year’s theme of loneliness. 

Hannah comes from a research background (MSc Psychology) and has more than three years’ experience within mental health and social care. 

Hannah Martin, Inclusion Advisor (Student Mental Health and Wellbeing): 

Mental health as a concept is something that’s being discussed more-and-more, however there remains a tendency for it to be confused with mental illness. Everyone has mental health and everyone will, at some point during their life time, experience mental health issues. Not everyone, however, will experience mental illness and require clinical input. I believe one way to further reduce the mental health stigma, is to openly talk about how we can make adjustments to our lives in order to live a life where we feel our wellbeing is supported, we have meaning, and we can function despite the stresses of everyday life. 

This year, for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, the theme of loneliness has been chosen. Loneliness is a very subjective feeling and has grown in terms of its effect on our mental and physical health exponentially due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been proven that the connections we have with the people around us and the society we live in have great influence on our mental health. Therefore, as we try to return to a life of normality, it is crucial we take steps to tackle the effect that loneliness has. 

Some of the ways you can do this include:

1.    Connecting with Yourself 
When we become our best allies, it can help us to feel less alone. We can connect with ourselves by becoming more self-compassionate. Self-compassion refers to being kind to yourself on the good and on the bad days, but it requires dedication and practice. Self-compassion enables us to have a non-judgmental attitude towards our thoughts and emotions, it allows us to embrace imperfection and leads us to be more present and less dismissive to way things affect us. Please read more here

2.    Talk & Be Open 
Concentrate on quality not quantity. Focus on building strong bonds and strengthening pre-existing relationships; talking openly about how you are feeling and using kind language around the subject of mental health will allow others to feel comfortable opening up too. 

3.    Social Media 
Like most things, social media can have its pros and cons. It’s important to recognise how using social media is making you feel. Social media can be a great platform to connect with others and engage in your interests however, it can also be used to compare ourselves or our lives to others. Allow yourself time away/breaks from social media if you recognise that it is being detrimental to the way you feel and think. Also, remember social media often depicts a snapshot of someone’s life and often isn’t representative of someone’s true identity.  

4.    Take it Slow 
The idea of ‘putting yourself out there’ or meeting new people can feel terrifying if you are lonely, especially if you have felt that way for a long time. There is no need to rush into anything. Try doing something you know you will enjoy but are also aware has a social aspect. This could be engaging in a sport you enjoy, reaching out to someone online you feel you may have similar interests with, or start volunteering for an organisation you feel passionately about. 

5.    Talking Therapies 
Talking therapies can help you understand how your feelings of loneliness can impact the way you think and act and will aim to equip you with techniques and strategies to manage this. For example, if social situations are making you feel anxious, developing coping strategies through talking therapies will help you tackle difficult situations in the future. Please see further information here about talking therapies. 

Please see an array of self help resources located in the inclusion portal if you are struggling with your own mental health.