We all need to feel connected to other people. Loneliness is the unsettling feeling we get when this need is not being met. We might feel like this because we're not having much contact with other people, or because the contact we are having doesn't feel meaningful to us.
But loneliness is different from being alone. For lots of people, being alone does not cause loneliness or feelings of isolation. Many people choose to spend time alone or don’t feel the need to have many social relationships. Whereas for others this can be a lonely experience. We're all different, which is what makes us unique. When it comes to loneliness, it’s all about what feels right or wrong for you.
Loneliness is not a mental health problem, but it can start to affect our mental health. Experiences of loneliness can make us feel sad, depressed, or give us feelings of low self-esteem. Having a mental health problem can also make you more likely to experience loneliness. Sometimes, if we are already struggling with our mental health, it can feel difficult for us to interact with loved ones in the way we usually do. This can then make us feel isolated and lonely when we didn’t feel this way before. But life doesn’t have to be this way; if you’re feeling lonely, there are things you can do to feel better.