We all need meaningful contact with other people. It makes us feels safe, loved and cared for.

When we don’t have this, it is normal to feel lonely.

Loneliness can be feeling alone when you don’t want to be or feeling alone even when you’re with others. Different people experience this differently.

Sometimes we like being by ourselves. This is different to loneliness because we are choosing to spend time alone.

If you are feeling lonely, it is important to tell someone you trust, like your parents or a teacher.

What causes loneliness?

There are many different causes of loneliness, and sometimes we may not understand why we feel lonely.

You may be more likely to feel lonely if you:

  • Have no friends or family
  • Look after someone else
  • Live somewhere without people similar to you
  • Can’t do social activities because of a lack of money

Things that have happened in your life may also make you feel lonely:

  • Moving to a new place with no friends
  • Starting a new school
  • If someone close to you dies
  • Falling out with friends
  • Looking after a family member
  • Some people feel lonely at certain times of the year

Social media and loneliness

Social media and technology can also cause loneliness.

Although social media can help us meet new people, it cannot replace real life face to face contact.

Too much social media instead of face-to-face contact can make us feel more lonely.

What can I do?

It is very normal to feel lonely. Everyone feels lonely at some point.

It is not a mental health problem, but feeling lonely can affect your mental health.

Facing mental health issues can also make you feel lonely.

The Children’s Society have a list of tips on how to cope with and overcome loneliness:

Sometimes we feel that we don’t feel very close to people. This can happen even if you know a lot of people!

It may be helpful to talk about how you feel to a friend or family member. You could also speak to another adult you trust, like your teacher or doctor.

If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to someone you know, try calling Meic Cymru – this is a phoneline any child or young person in Wales can call for free to talk about anything that is worrying them.

Try writing down or drawing how you are feeling. How do you feel afterwards? This might help explain your feelings if you talk to someone else.

You could even try writing or drawing your feelings and showing it to someone else, like your parents.

Being outside and seeing other people can help you feel better.

Try to notice the sights, sounds and smells. It can be relaxing.

You also might see something new or run into someone you know.

Getting into a new hobby can keep your mind busy and help you meet new friends who like the same things as you.

You could ask someone you know what they like doing or look on the internet for ideas.

Feeling lonely can affect your wellbeing. This can make it more difficult to try and make changes to your life.

Look at our self-help pages for advice.