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Isolation and loneliness

There are times in everyone's life when we feel lonely or isolated. You may feel emotionally cut off from those around you, or feel alone.

Causes of loneliness

Certain stressful events or worries can be a cause of loneliness. You may feel like you're the only person going through something. It may seem like your life is different from the people around you.

It's normal to feel lonely if you're:

  • having a hard time with bullying or intimidation at school, college or work
  • dealing with bereavement (someone close to you has died)
  • finding it hard to talk to others because of shyness or social anxiety
  • living away from home
  • seeing friends move away

Bereavement and loss

Bullying and harassment


Unemployment is a really big cause of loneliness and isolation. It means you're at home all day without the chance to make new friends and keep busy. You can also feel like you don't have much news when you meet your friends. Or you may feel like you don't want to see people at all.

Low self-esteem

Having low self-esteem can make you feel lonely because you may feel you're not as good as others. This is a normal feeling that everyone experiences from time to time.

Building self-confidence

No shared interests

It's not always easy to find a group of people you connect with. This can be especially true in rural or isolated communities where it might seem hard to find people who share your interests.

Activities with other people can improve your mental health


After a relationship or friendship break-up, it can be difficult to adjust to life without that person. Spending time on your own can feel isolating.

If there's no clear reason why you feel lonely, it might be a sign something's wrong.


If you find it too difficult to talk to a loved one, contact your GP.

If you need to talk to someone right now, call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email Samaritans are available 24 hours a day.

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025