Loneliness is the feeling that we are not cared for, valued or seen by those around us. More than half of New Yorkers report feeling lonely at least some of the time.
We all feel this way at times, but persistent loneliness can have long-term and significant effects on your physical, emotional and mental health.
It is important for us to name and talk about loneliness so that we can identify people who are lonely and provide them with the support that they need to feel more connected. It is not always easy to tell if someone is lonely. Some people may not want to admit that they are lonely or ask for help. They can seem happy while they are hurting on the inside.
You can be surrounded by friends and family and still feel lonely. Alternatively, some people may be socially isolated but are comfortable with that lifestyle and do not feel chronic loneliness.
Loneliness can affect your sleep, your overall well-being and your ability to take care of yourself. It may lead to depression, anxiety and suicide.
There is evidence loneliness can increase your risk of dementia, stroke and premature death. It may be as dangerous to our health as smoking and lack of physical activity.
Loneliness can affect your daily routine in various ways, causing you to:
You may feel lonely for a variety of reasons, including:
You may have a high risk for loneliness if you:
All of us have an opportunity to make a connection and a difference in the lives of our friends, families, and neighbors. Check in, listen and stay in touch with the people who matter in your life.
To help yourself or the people around you from feeling lonely, try these simple tips:
Connect with Your Neighbors
Try a small act of kindness to improve the life of a person near you, such as picking up groceries for an older or homebound neighbor. Here are some other tips to help you connect:
Find Local Resources and Social Supports
There are resources online to help you find social support and services near you, including:
Give Back to Your Community
Volunteering can help you feel less isolated and more connected to your community. To find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit NYC Service.
Contact NYC Well
You can talk to behavioral health professionals for confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, information and referrals.
NYC Well is a toll-free help line, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text and online chat.