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Combating loneliness during coronavirus

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 8,970 Scope community team
edited June 18 in Coffee lounge
Loneliness is something that affects many disabled people. However, during lockdown we have become even more isolated. 

The Mental Health Foundation have found a lot of people have experienced this:
According to a survey* of UK adults which took place during lockdown (2 – 3 April), one in four (24%) said they had feelings of loneliness in the “previous two weeks”.

When the same question was asked shortly before lockdown, just one in ten people (10%) said they had these feelings. In a matter of weeks, social distancing left millions more people in the UK feeling isolated.
They also have offered some advice around how to support others and yourself during the pandemic:

What can we do to prevent loneliness? 

The government is telling us to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home. 

That means we need to adapt how we connect with people and find new ways to stay in touch during this time. Now, more than ever, is the time to keep up those strong social networks that act like a buffer against poor mental health.  

Staying in touch via video calls, Whatsapp or just regular phone calls, is vital. Keep up your routines where possible – for example if you play cards with your friends on a weeknight, try keeping this in the diary and playing a game on a video call instead. Or potentially join one of the many online quizzes hosted on Facebook or Youtube, playing as a team.  

If you’re not tech savvy, regular phone calls, messages or even writing letters are lovely ways to show someone that you’re thinking of them.  

We have written a guide to nurturing relationships during Coronavirus with lots of different ideas for keeping in touch.  

Helping others who might be experiencing loneliness 

Three in four of the overall population, and about half of the younger population, have not been experiencing loneliness during lockdown according to the survey.* This shows great resilience during this time of isolation and shows that many of us are adapting our ways of keeping in contact with people. Doing good is good for our mental health, so now could a good opportunity to help someone else who might be feeling lonely.  

One idea is to get in touch with someone who lives alone or might not have many relatives or close connections to check in on them. A message or a phone call could make a big difference to someone who hasn’t heard from anyone in a while. 

If it’s a neighbour, you could even share something you’ve baked with them - at a safe distance! If you know someone who struggles with technology, now could be a good time to talk them through setting up something like Skype or Zoom at home. This could make a huge difference to their social interactions in future.  

We’ve come up with some more ideas for random acts of kindness during the Coronavirus outbreak

How have you been feeling? What things have found helpful to keep in touch with others? Let us know in the comments below!
Community Partner


  • RonniRonni Member Posts: 154 Pioneering
    Besides joining on here. I got on face book and messenger. But dont no many people.

    Wish I could find a game club with save chat thing.  Even bingo night not the big ones. Event plans.
    Charity coffee morning events that type of thing.
    Justbto have something regular and talk to people. Pity scope does have a club event nights. 

    But I can only communicate by txt. 

  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 484 Pioneering
    hi @Ronni, yes bingo sounds great!! not played for years :), hope you are okay and keeping safe
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 445 Pioneering
    Setting up technology for the barely techno literate is a much needed service, never provided by commerce or charity.  The stock attitude is that everyone M U S T have a relative.

    (Just as every n.h.s. system assumes it.  A survey showed a considerable percentage never have a single visitor in hospital,  yet leaflets assume hot and cold running relatives will bring stuff in for every patient.)
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 445 Pioneering
    This is a bit reminiscent of the jolly little leaflets advising everyone to go for half an hour's daily run.  (Really? With a zimmer frame?)
    The assumprion is that lonely people should not be lonely, because  nobody is isolated.  Everyone in the country is assumed to have a list of friends and family and social groups, but for some reason some of them sit round feeling lonely instead of using tech or phones.. They need to be instructed to  try keeping in touch with their friends. 
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 771 Pioneering
    newborn said:
    They need to be instructed to  try keeping in touch with their friends. 
    I know where you are coming from - first need to make some friends!! :D
  • RonniRonni Member Posts: 154 Pioneering
    Cant help the friends bit got none myself.
    But tech bits.
     one to one with the charity Ability Net.
    Provide help computers, software etc and getting online things. And digi technology advice for communication equipment.
    The advice and support is given, online, on phone  or one to one at home or in training session.

    Once I get pc il be on to them to help with downloads and what ever thingys ....🤪
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 8,970 Scope community team
    Some really interesting points guys! Thank you for sharing. I appreciate that it is such a difficult time at the moment.

    I hope the community can help you to chat with others. :)
    Community Partner
  • raymond_romeoraymond_romeo Member Posts: 4 Listener
    How does it help.??
  • Wini1960Wini1960 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    I cannot imagine what a lot of people are going through but my own experiences of loneliness is when I am depressed. Trying to do something no matter how small and talking to your inner self about what you are doing has helped me a lot. Also getting in touch with other people like within Scope and encourage them and you find yourself be encouraged. As when you are depressed or lonely you tend to focus solely on yourself and it can become a perpetual cycle of misery. That's my thoughts.
  • LouiseHLouiseH Community champion Posts: 91 Courageous
    I've found my feelings of loneliness and depression go hand in hand and feed each other. I've still been working (part time) but have felt isolated as I'm stuck in the house apart from working. Things have started to get better recently and I saw my parents yesterday, for the first time since March and my friend last week. 
    Louise Hesketh
    Community Champion
  • Wini1960Wini1960 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Hi LouiseH it's very hard when your on your own especially if your depressed. I'm glad you met up with your parents and friend, that will give you some support. Maybe you could a course online or take up some activity ie card making. I love knitting and crocheting but I also have a work from home business to keep me occupied. All the best. Your mental health matters.
  • JaneCambsJaneCambs Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Loneliness was here way before lockdown for some. I was widowed six years ago. The first year of my husbands anniversary of his death I lay in hospital sick for just over a week and people didn’t visit. I got a text showing pics of my son but that was it. I remember crying in the hospital bed wishing my husband was there. Hating the fact I was back in the hospital again. My mother lives abroad and I have no local friends. I chose to remain in this area because of my sons fathers family. But when my son was diagnosed with autism they were not supportive and in the end I had to cut my ties. Now it’s just me and him. I get the odd text from my mum but otherwise I am alone, trying to be the best teacher, carer, house maintenance DIY person, OT, speech therapist and parent I can be. What lockdown has really reminded me, is I have no support and my son and I are invisible most of the time. Not everyone wants Facebook, not everyone can pick up a phone and talk. (I have a fear of answering phones) That doesn’t mean those people don’t matter. The problem is we haven’t reached that moment where the majority of people are mindful towards those with disabilities, or carers. We don’t make the list when people think up things. They don’t think “hmm how can I make this work for people with disabilities or those who care for someone?” we are on the back burner too often. You only have to look at lockdown and food shopping to see that proof. My son has complex sensory issues that change all the time. He eats no more than about five foods at anyone time and it’s a certain brand. I can’t get a slot most of the time. And then when I do, getting his foods are still hard as they can be sold out. Yet he isn’t on the vulnerable list. My son who is aged 6 but more a 2 year old. Who can’t wear a mask and would probably lick the trolly or shelves. Who has no understanding of the dangers. Isn’t on the vulnerable list. People are forgotten about because those in charge can’t see the bigger picture. Until they do it’s always going to result in those vulnerable not being noticed. Everyone wants a voice even those none verbal. And everyone wants to feel included. 

    I use to play BINGO with my husband 

    sorry for my rant. I don’t get to chat normally so I guess the floodgates opened there “oops” better out than in they say 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Administrator Posts: 7,121 Scope community team
    Don't apologise @JaneCambs. I'm glad you expressed it and the only way things will ever change is if the people affected have the bravery to speak out.

    Are you still struggling to get access to food? We have some information about accessing food and essentials on our website, if it's of interest.
    Senior Community Partner
  • JaneCambsJaneCambs Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    Thanks so much @Adrian_Scope I will check the link. It’s been hard getting my sons foods as he is so limited. And his antihistamine for his allergies, as only one type works for him. He is still in nappies and they have also been hard to find at times. 

    Many thanks for the link and support, I will give that a look for certain 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 8,970 Scope community team
    Hi @JaneCambs, how are things going? :)
    Community Partner
  • LouiseHLouiseH Community champion Posts: 91 Courageous
    Thanks @Wini1960 I'm off work this week and it's been better than I expected.

    How're you doing @JaneCambs
    Louise Hesketh
    Community Champion
  • ScoliFibroGirlScoliFibroGirl Member Posts: 46 Courageous
    I have always had a lonely life except I have chosen to embrace it and make the most of it rather than sit n feel depressed about it, I looked at positives not just the negatives. I tried all of the self-help groups in my area, friendship circles and it was just competition of diagnostic labels and comparing symptom notes. Not exactly what I had in mind I was aiming for cha†s on music the soaps. So I thankfully gave up and chose a quieter lifestyle
  • katho31katho31 Member Posts: 484 Pioneering
    yes you do have to sometimes make the most of things and remember it what youve got, what you can do, what little things ie; being able to read/type/be okay with being ok with your own company. life throws us lots of hurdles, some are able to deal with them better than others, we are all unique :). a good book/film/picture/music/listening to bird song ect, i know i may seem a bit hippyish!! but just my thoughts  :)
  • kaiasparrowkaiasparrow Member Posts: 14 Connected
    I've never really had friends, struggle to make friends as I have autism and mental health problems and I guess I'm a bit of an outsider.. Always felt too "different", almost like I'm not human. I am lucky to have met my boyfriend but I don't have any friends of my own. My anxiety had been really bad for about a year before the virus hit and I could only leave the house to go to work so I didn't really make any new friends then. I started therapy and my anxiety got a lot better and I was ready to start going to social events, meet ups, new hobbies etc again and try and meet new people and then we got locked down. Felt very "just my luck"! 
  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 183 Pioneering
    edited July 5
    For older people there is a charity started by Esther Rantzen called The Silver Line. Basically it’s a confidential helpline whereby someone can arrange to have regular telephone chats with someone or just talk to someone,24 hour and free. Its partner is Age UK now. If anyone is interested

    @kaiasparrow I used to have trouble making friends until I made friends with someone who had lots of friends and I sort of inherited them! After that I found it easier. I think I found out that other people are quite similar and I wasn’t that different after all. That helped me to relax and just be more natural with others. Sometimes it doesn’t work but mostly people respond nicely. You get a thicker skin as you age and less sensitive to criticism I’ve found. I wish I’d been more like that when I was young but hey, better late than never.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 8,970 Scope community team
    Hi @kaiasparrow, that must have been frustrating. What new hobbies have you started? :) 
    Community Partner
  • Blue69Blue69 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I'm 51. Live alone. Isolated. No family.
    Not from here. 
    Need to move to Sheffield, got no income so can't get a mortgage. Really fed up. 
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