young Carers

I Feel Lonely

We can all feel lonely sometimes for many different reasons, including at times of difficult change in our lives, such as moving to a new city, because of relationships or friendships ending, or because of a bereavement. Sometimes, we can feel lonely even if we are around lots of people or have lots of friends.

It can be hard to find friends who get us or can relate to our experiences. Social media can make us feel extremely isolated, especially if we are being bullied or feel disconnected from the ‘perfect lives’ we see. Even if we have loads of followers, it can sometimes feel like everyone else is surrounded by friends and loved ones and having a good time when we’re not.

What is Loneliness?

Loneliness isn’t just something that older people living alone feel. Young people experience loneliness too. One UK study carried out in 2018 found that young people aged 16-24 were more likely than any other age group to feel lonely.

Loneliness is especially common among people who look after someone at home.  A research study by Carers UK and the Jo Cox Foundation found that 8 out of 10 adult carers have felt lonely or socially isolated as a result of their caring role. However, this same study found that young carers are even more likely that adult carers to feel lonely – with almost 9 out of 10 carers under 24 saying that they felt lonely as a result of their caring role.

Someone who feels lonely might

  • Spend a lot of time alone
  • Be unproductive – as doing things can often seem like too much effort
  • Get stuck and fixated on the negatives
  • Feel very tired all the time
  • Cancel plans right before they were meant to happen
  • Seem quite quiet and distant when you are with them.

Everyone gets lonely sometimes.  If you’re feeling lonely, there are lots of things you can do to feel better.  Not everything will work for everyone though, so find something that works for you.

Action you can take right now

Here are some recommendations from the Young Scot Loneliness Panel about ways of relieving feelings of loneliness:

  • Keeping in contact with friends and family – call or text at least once a week.
  • Try to join a group or club which means you have contact with people.
  • Trying to keep to a schedule everyday so it can help you feel more together and so you have things to do to keep you busy.
  • Try to stay active – even if it’s just walking as this can have a positive impact on your mental health.
  • Plan / think about what you want to do in the future as it can help you keep going and give you something to look forward to
  • Watch some tv or films – to keep your mind thinking about other things.
  • Have some time each week to do something creative as this can be really good to keep you busy but also distract yourself.
  • Find something that brings you comfort so maybe if you do get overwhelmed – lighting candles, cooking comfort food, and reading a new book.

More Information

Young Scot has a whole webpage about Tackling Youth Loneliness, with lots of information, support and signposting for young people who are feeling lonely.




  • Loneliness with Ellie, Research Zone Podcast (37 minutes) – Talks about the links between loneliness and anxiety / depression in young people, and provides suggestions from young people about how to deal with loneliness.
  • Loneliness with Sam, Research Zone Podcast (15 minutes) – Talks about why young people aged 16-24 are the loneliest age group in the UK, and what young people can do if they feel lonely.
  • Feeling anxious about social situations, CoRAY Voices (24 minutes) ­– A podcast produced by young people interviewing a researcher about how young people can use mindfulness to cope with feeling anxious about social situations.



  • How to get rid of loneliness and become happy, Olivia Remes, TEDx Talks (11 minutes) – Insights on loneliness and how to beat it.
  • How to tackle feeling lonely, British Red Cross (1 minute) – A short video animation discussing loneliness and what we can do to cope with it.
  • Why you are lonely and how to make friends, Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell (12 minutes) – An animation providing practical suggestions for how to make new friends at any stage in life.
  • Tips to help with loneliness, Mind (2.5 minutes) – Short, animated video about how to combat loneliness. This video was made for university students during the Covid-19 pandemic, but many of the tips are relevant for people not in university, too.
  • It’s not that deep, Emerging Minds – A 3-part drama series on loneliness, written and acted by young people.

Where to get more help

If you feel you have no one to talk to, try a free helpline:

  • Childline (for children and young people under 19) (24 hours) 0800 1111 or chat to someone at Childline via webchat or email. See for further information.
  • The Mix (for young people under 25) (Monday to Saturday, 4pm – 11pm) – 0808 808 4994, or chat via email or webchat.
  • Samaritans 116 123 (24-hour free helpline) and email (response time, 24 hours)


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