#LonelinessLooksLike Stories


Over 3.5 million people faced loneliness together during our recent Great Winter Get Together. The overwhelming majority were concerned that the ongoing pandemic would continue to cause suffering in their communities. 97% of survey participants thought loneliness would be a continued or growing problem in the months ahead.

Loneliness is a normal and common human emotion, not just a pandemic issue. Now more than ever, it's crucial that we open the floor to relatable, honest conversations about our personal experiences.

With support from the DCMS and its Let's Talk Loneliness campaign, we are carrying on this conversation to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around loneliness.

Here's what #LonelinessLooksLike to you:

Salma (28, Darlington)

"During the first lockdown of the pandemic, I struggled a lot as support bubbles weren't in place yet. I lived alone, was self-employed and was still trying to manage my mental health with antidepressants. I found comfort in the sound of my neighbours' TV (which would normally be too loud and a bit annoying at times) and the sound of their voices. It was different from being on the phone with someone or video calling because, once you hang up, you're alone again.


"Hearing my neighbours talking and having a seemingly normal day or evening helped me to feel less alone in my space. I'm quite introverted so it was nice to have my space and not have to engage, while also having the option to be part of their world in a small way. It also helped massively to have my cat, who will never understand her enormous role in my life and mental wellbeing. Her existence, affection and warmth got me through a lot of dark times, even before the pandemic hit."


Hazel (18, Warwick)

"The pandemic heightened my fears and the loneliness of starting university. It was ironic for so many of us to be in this new life transition together, but confined to our halls. I was anxious about making friends with my flatmates, as they were the only people I could actually meet - yet many didn't even move in. Freshers was my chance to make friends, but everything being online was strange and difficult. Virtual uni is incredibly isolating. There are periods where I don't leave my dorm for days."


Stephen (55, Surrey)

"I live by myself and I get extremely lonely. I have just been booked in for a colonoscopy examination, and been told that I have to have a swab test on Saturday, which they are coming to me for as I don't drive. I will then have to self-isolate until I get collected for the examination, so it's going to be extremely lonely for me not to be able to get out for anything."



"There were many joyful moments in my first year with my son. It was so incredible to have this new being in my life! But at the same time, I hadn’t quite reckoned on how much becoming a mum was going to change all of my other relationships, with my close friends, my family and my partner. Motherhood for me came as one of a series of big life changes in short succession, and it took me a long time to work out who I was in the new life I’d found myself in, and for my relationships to reconfigure. 


"It’s really only looking back that I can see there were moments of deep loneliness in that first year. If it were more normal to talk about loneliness, I’m sure I would’ve recognised it sooner and done things a little differently."


Radhika (23, London)

"Coming to terms with being gay felt really lonely. I felt like I couldn’t speak to anyone about my worries and silly things like having a crush (even though that’s all teenage girls seemed to talk about!). Despite knowing that my friends would be supportive, the fear of being rejected stopped me from approaching them about it. I found a lot of comfort watching coming out videos on YouTube, hoping that one day I’d have the courage to come out myself - and I did!"


Kim (Ambassador & Jo Cox's sister)

"Jo had a tough time at university. As a working class girl from the North of England Cambridge was a very different world and she struggled to make sense of it, often feeling like she didn’t really belong. On top of this, having been extremely close throughout our childhood and doing everything together as kids, being apart was really hard and it’s fair to say there were some very lonely times for both of us.


"It’s really important to acknowledge that being at college or university can give rise to feelings of loneliness and isolation for many people and we shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about it."


Sarah (42, London)

"Being widowed at 40 with three young kids is incredibly isolating - there are no peers in my immediate circle who have experienced what I was going through, though family and friends have been there for us all. Things that were easy to do when you have a co-parent rather than a babysitter suddenly become difficult, making socialising a challenge even when you feel up to it or are allowed to gather. Children keep you busy, but don't necessarily keep you company.


"Evenings are long and weekends longer when both the good times and the bad times remind you that your person isn't there to share them with.  Being a solo parent is really tough, there is no one else who shares the responsibility for your most precious things with you and every parenting decision is yours, and yours alone. Support groups like Widowed And Young, where you can find people who share the struggles, make a real difference - you still feel lonely in your grief but you know you're not alone."


Julia (25, London)

"When the first lockdown hit, I started to avoid talking to friends and family as I was anxious about the fact that 'I didn't have anything to say'. Without realising it, I was cutting myself off from the opportunity to feel connected to others. Since January I have started to reach out more, and realise how lovely it is to just hear friends’ voices and talk about the smallest of things or the largest of struggles."


To submit your own story, click here.

For further support and resources around loneliness, click here.

We use cookies to help us provide the best possible experience for users. View our Privacy Policy for more information.OK