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Mental health awareness week

Its World #mentalhealthawarenessweek and this year’s theme is loneliness.

Many of us would have experienced loneliness at some time in their lives. It is an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation and can also be described as social pain.

Anyone can experience loneliness, however some groups are more at risk, such as being from an ethic minority group, being under 24 years or 65 and over.

Some of the signs and symptoms of chronic loneliness are:

  • Inability to connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level.

  • No close or “best” friends.

  • Overwhelming feeling of isolation regardless of where you are and who’s around.

  • Negative feelings of self-doubt and self-worth.

Here are some tips on how to reconnect with ourselves and each other from the University of Oxford psychologist Dr Mary Kempnich.

Notice when you feel lonely.

Paying attention to what causes us to feel lonely makes it easier to navigate our way out and avoid similar situations in the future.

For example, you might notice you can feel lonelier in a crowd than when by yourself.

Reconnect with someone you miss.

Sometimes, we may simply have lost sight of a friend or colleague and feel awkward about initiating contact after a lot of time has passed.

Dare to reach out (by asking for a small favour if you can’t think of what else to say) and stay open to them re-entering your world.

Spend time in nature.

SJMT is an Almshouse Charity, and the gardens are an important part of our heritage. We know how connecting with nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and prevent distress.

Take in the view, the scents in the air, and the breeze on your skin. Using our senses can bring us back to the present moment and help us reset manually and emotionally.

Even a quick stroll around your neighbourhood can provide an opportunity to reconnect with the environment you’re a part of.

Eat meals with others.

Sharing food is a simple and powerful way to feel connected with others. SJMT encourage the residents to join in the activities and outings that have been arranged to enable socialising and encourage individuals to seek social connection.

Scheduling regular meals together can make them have something to look forward to. If side- by- side meals aren’t possible, get creative by having a virtual snack with a friend or colleague during your next break.

We encourage all our residents to contact their wellbeing support worker for support if they have any worries or concerns regarding their mental health.

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