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Tackling loneliness

Over 25% of Australians are lonely. If you'd like support or want to support someone who might be alone, here's how to get started.
1 in 5 Australians
feel that they have
no one to talk to
or turn to.1

Tips for connecting with others
when you're feeling lonely

1 Reach out. Whether it’s to a family member, a friend, or even a co-worker, telling someone you trust that you’re feeling lonely can help.

2 Connect through a shared activity. Getting involved with a cause or community project allows you to meet new people and connect through a common goal.

3 Connect online. It may be difficult for you to connect with others face to face to because of where you live or lack of confidence. Connecting online can be a great place to start.

4 Volunteer. One of the best ways to feel valued is to volunteer. Everyone has something to offer and you will quickly realise how important you can be to someone else.

5 Talk to your neighbours. Say g’day when you see your neighbours – a smile and a wave can often start a connection.

6 Show you're open to a conversation. The best way to encourage people to connect with you is to simply smile and say hello. This is a great signal to let people know you’re up for a chat.

If you want to try any of these steps, check out:

  • A great video from the UK on the benefits of chatting
  • A list of resources if you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to

Tips for helping someone
who is feeling lonely

1 Offer support. If you notice someone who seems lonely, or someone has told you they are lonely, the first step is to let them know you’re there to help and listen.

2 Listen and encourage. Resist giving advice at first. Most of the time when people reach out for help, they don’t need to be told what to do. They just want someone to listen. Be sure to use active listening and ask questions to show your engagement.

3 Offer advice if they ask for advice. If you feel like you’re able to, you can offer some steps to help them overcome their loneliness. Otherwise here is a list of resources.

4 Start a conversation with someone. You can do this at the checkout, in the doctor’s surgery or at the bus stop. You’ll soon find out if they’re keen to engage, but you could be the first person they’ve spoken to all day.

5 Look for opportunities to include people. When you suspect a person might appreciate some interaction, include them in something you are doing. This could be as simple as going to the shops, gardening or watching the kids play sport.

6 Don't think of people as 'lonely'. Loneliness is not an illness or a label - changes in life, lack of time or skills, physical challenges or just being a bit different from the majority, lead many of us to be less connected than we would like.

For other ways to support click here or check out our programs for tackling loneliness

References

  1. Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review (2017) Julianne Holt-Lunstad,  Timothy B. Smith,  J. Bradley Layton
Nearly 30%
of Australians rarely
or never feel part of
a group of friends.1