Young people are reporting more “lockdown loneliness”, according to new data.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) study shows that 50% of 16-24 year olds have reported ‘lockdown loneliness’.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, one in three students reported feeling lonely on a weekly basis. Since then, the statistics have grown to show that half the population of students are now experiencing heightened loneliness due to the national lockdowns.
A team of students from the University of Southampton have created UniPal to help campaign against student loneliness.
One of the members of the team, Laura Smith, told Winol: “Student loneliness is a chronically underrepresented issue in the mainstream media and in mental health services.”
Ms Smith went on to say “This mass under-representation of loneliness among students as an issue is part of the problem because it’s facilitating and enabling that stigma around students that do feel lonely because it’s saying it’s not normal to feel that way.”
University is meant to be a time for students to connect with new people and do a course that they enjoy. However, it is largely overlooked at how difficult it is to be often plunged into a whole new city with a group of people who have never met before. This is where it is integral for fellow students to share their experience of loneliness to destigmatise the feeling of being lonely.
It is important to be able to identify the main signs of feeling lonely within yourself or other people, these could be: The feeling of dissatisfaction with life, feeling isolated and that no one understands and withdrawing and coming completely into yourself to the point that you’re not going out and doing the things you enjoy anymore.
With support for mental health being massively underfunded everywhere, Laura identified that there is an “unwillingness to engage with the help that is out there” because people are either afraid of no one being able to understand or afraid of draining the service for the people they feel could benefit from it more.
The University of Southampton students who are leading the campaign to end student loneliness are currently working on a social media app to give students a safe and online format where they can meet people of similar interests and bring them together through other ways than just sharing a lecture hall.