Are poor finances contributing to loneliness?

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, approximately 7.1% of people in Great Britain experience chronic loneliness, meaning they feel lonely ‘often or always’. That’s a lot of lonely people – 3.83 million to be exact.

With that in mind, we’re urging you to check in on your friends and family – and there’s never been a more apt time to do so, with Loneliness Awareness Week taking place from June 10 to 16.

Raising awareness of loneliness and empowering everyone to make connections across the UK and worldwide, the week-long event unites individuals, businesses, schools, charities, governments and public figures.

What’s causing loneliness amongst Brits, though?

This NHS article suggests that we’re all affected by loneliness at times in our lives. ‘We can feel lonely in a busy city or rural location, on social media or spending time on our own with others’, informs the piece, which goes on to say that you should ‘try not to feel embarrassed or ashamed if you do’.

Understanding our own reasons for feeling low can help us identify and manage the feelings associated with loneliness, states the article, with the pandemic sparking or exacerbating loneliness in many people.

Money worries can contribute to feelings of loneliness, too, with research by the MoneyHelper site revealing that half of people in debt preferred not to discuss their troubles with friends and family for fear of worrying them.

The Creative Support site picks out three key reasons people are struggling to make ends meet, with the cost-of-living, fuel poverty and utility bill increases being just three.

Of course, this puts an ‘overwhelming amount of strain on our mental health’, writes the article’s author, adding that, although it is out of our control, people can alleviate this feeling of isolation.

Let’s take a look at some ways you could reduce feelings of loneliness…

Open Up

It’s no secret that money problems can affect your mental health. For many, opening up to a trusted family member or friend may be just what is needed to help lessen feelings of loneliness, extreme stress or indeed anything else that’s affecting your day-to-day emotions.

The Mind charity lists some common feelings associated with poor finances. These include guilt for spending money, feeling afraid of looking at your bank balance or talking to your bank, and feeling ashamed for needing support.

Help is available, though; the NHS offers some advice here, while also signposting you to a variety of valuable services.

Suggest Budget-friendly Social Activities

Creative Support points out that it can be hard to maintain relationships with the people close to you when social gatherings involve spending money. That needn’t be a barrier to getting together with friends or family, though, with the site offering plenty of helpful advice.

While it’s easy to slip into feelings of embarrassment if you can’t afford to join others on social catch ups, there’s no need. Instead, can you suggest cheap (or even free) activities you can all do, such as taking a picnic to the park, having a film night at home, or even sitting in the garden or yard on a warm evening with a cuppa and some snacks.

Money – or lack of it – shouldn’t get in the way of a healthy social life. You can, says the Creative Support site, check out sites like Money Saving Expert for voucher codes and discounts on days out, too.

Seek Help

If you’re worried about your finances and feeling isolated as a result, seek help and support – and not just from those around you.

Citizens’ Advice is committed to working with others to help people develop the skills and confidence to avoid financial crisis – and you can find out more over here. You can also explore the Government help that could be available to you, such as benefits for families, benefits for disabled people, and more.

The Mind mental health charity offers a wealth of support too, in the form of helplines, face-to-face peer support and advocacy services. It also offers an online community for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Community and friendship groups are a great way to meet up with like-minded people locally. Unity Mutual is a proud part of the Oddfellows, one of the UK’s oldest and largest friendly societies. It has nearly 40,000 members that make up its network of 99 branches nationwide. It hosts approximately 700 in-person and online events every month, and anyone is welcome to go and try them out with no obligation to become a member.

Meetup allows anyone who’s feeling lonely – or anyone who simply wants to meet some likeminded people – to find connection and support from those who share their interests or aspirations – take a look.

You can also delve into our Knowledge Hub, which provides articles on everything from talking to your friends about money, to practical ways to reduce debt.

Until next time…


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