Young people feel loneliest of any age group in the UK: study

Young people feel loneliest of any age group in the UK: study
By Emma Beswick
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Two in five participants aged 16-24 reported feeling lonely often or very often, the study found

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Young people aged 16-24 feel the loneliest of any age group in the UK, and spending time on Facebook might make things worse, according to a new nationwide survey.

Two in five (40%) of participants in this age group reported feeling lonely often or very often, the study found.

Only 29% of people aged 65-74 and 27% of those aged 75 or older described experiencing the same feelings.

Those who reported feeling lonely had more "online" friends on platforms like Facebook than those who did not.

The survey was carried out by the BBC's All in the Mind programme in conjunction with the Wellcome Collection and saw 55,000 people aged over 16 respond, making it the biggest survey of its kind.

Developed by academics at the University of Manchester, Brunel University London, and the University of Exeter, the survey aimed to explore attitudes and personal experiences of loneliness.

Of the findings, Claudia Hammond, presenter of Radio 4’s All in the Mind said: "This research shows we need to take loneliness seriously in all age groups.

"We know that most loneliness is temporary, but we need to find ways to prevent it from becoming chronic.”

Pamela Qualter, Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester, who led the study, described the results as "significant".

"Findings suggest that we need to be kinder to ourselves when we feel disconnected from others, but also that there is a whole toolkit of potential solutions that we can try," she said.

At the time of writing, 46% of participants said they would like more friends.

In addition, 30% of people answered "yes" and 42% "sometimes" to the question: "In general, do you feel isolated from others?"

The programme will be broadcast live from Wellcome Collection on Monday at 9 pm CEST.

Mind is a mental health charity in England and Wales that offers advice on how you might overcome loneliness or help people who are lonely.

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