Mental Health Week 2022: Loneliness
When we speak of loneliness, an image may appear in our minds of an elderly person in a rocking chair, sat in a dimly lit room, staring out of a window, longingly looking for some connection to the outside world. However, If we replace said rocking chair, with an office chair, the dimly lit room with a brightly lit office space, and the window with a computer screen, we are closer to the true form loneliness takes in the 21st Century.
While loneliness does affect a great deal of the UK’s elderly population with the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness set to reach two million by 2025/6; this compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years *1 Loneliness affects people of any age and according to research carried out by Starling Bank last year, 63%*2 of SME Leaders felt lonely and struggled to create innovative ideas within their roles due to a lack of contact with their peers.
Professionals are not immune from experiencing loneliness, quite the contrary. Work pressures and demands put upon them by their roles make many professional feel alone in their struggles and increasingly isolated. As remote working became the norm for many, as a result of the pandemic, experiences of individuals being forgotten about by colleagues or overlooked for opportunities at work became a real cause for concern among many of the global working population.
In terms of physical impacts, studies show it is linked to many health issues, such as, an increase in high blood pressure and putting individuals at a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Then there are of course the mental health side effects that range from anxiety, depression and in some cases paranoia.
Loneliness is a complex issue- affecting one person from the next differently. During this year’s Mental Health Awareness week, we challenge you to think about loneliness and whether it may be affecting yourself, a colleague, a friend or a family member. Do you think that there is a way for you to support them or yourself by reaching out to them for a chat? Other ways to tackle feelings of loneliness are to join a local volunteering group, join an online class or a hobby group. Alternatively, is there an opportunity to set up a social group in your organisation, open to all?
With 33% of adults experiencing feelings of loneliness worldwide, the Chartered Banker Institute is proud to support this year’s Mental Health Awareness week (9 -15th May 2022) and highlight this growing issue, which affects so many people.
To find out more about the subject of loneliness and surrounding mental health issues, please join the Mental Health Awareness Webcast: Loneliness held jointly by the Institute and the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) On Wednesday 25th May.
To register your free place, click here.
*1 Campaign to loneliness The facts on loneliness | Campaign to End Loneliness
*2 Finextra 63% of SME leaders feel lonely in role – Starling Bank (finextra.com)
*3 Statista • Loneliness among adults worldwide by country 2021 | Statista