Living alone during lockdown is becoming increasingly tough for the millions of people who don’t even have a partner or housemate to lean on. Are we doing enough to improve social inclusion?
The impact of COVID-19 on physical health is clear. The impact on mental health is becoming clearer but we have only just begun to understand the long-term effects of both the trauma of the virus itself, but also the trauma from the Government’s key response: lockdown.
It is estimated that around 7.7 million people in the UK found themselves living alone for vast swathes of the last 12 months. Living alone with their own company, their own frustrations, and their own thoughts.
For a lot of people who experience anxiety, anxious thinking, or compulsive thoughts and behaviours – lockdown brings another level to worry about because they are conscious of the impact of restricted freedom of movement whilst equally aware of the impact of the virus if it is allowed to run unchecked through communities.
In kent, we are fortunate enough that VCSE organisations such as Kent Community Foundation launch projects such as their Knock and Check; encouraging people to check on the elderly and vulnerable in our communities, especially during the winter months.
Living alone during lockdown is tough – but outside of the older population groups, there is a vast tranche of the population who are alone without support networks nearby. More needs to be done to support these people with a structured, coordinated approach.
This is why charity projects tackling social isolation are so important to support people, whether they are living alone physically by themselves, or living a lonely existence even if there are other people in the house. Social Isolation is not dependent on physical proximity so much as social interactions and community networks.