Many Canadian struggle with loneliness, especially due to the ongoing pandemic. According to experts, loneliness is not about being alone; it is about feeling alone despite wanting social connections. It is perceived as involuntary separation, abandonment, rejection or isolation from others.
Statistics of Loneliness in Canada:
- In Canada, 13% of people 15 and over reported always or often feeling lonely
- People who are married or in a common-law relationship are less lonely
- More Canadians are living alone – 28% of households
Physical and Mental Health Implications of Loneliness:
Loneliness is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, increased stress and suicide rates. Lonely people are more prone to major psychiatric disorders, cognitive decline, and dementia.
The stigma of loneliness can prevent people from seeking help. “People think if they admit they are lonely it means people don’t want to be with them.” says Ami Rokach, a psychologist at Toronto’s York University who has studied loneliness for more than 30 years.
How to Prevent Loneliness:
- Join a community service or another activity that you enjoy.
- Focus on developing quality relationships; it is the quality that matters, not the quantity.
- Think more positively. Lonely people often expect rejection, so try to focus on positive thoughts and attitudes in your relationships.
- Strengthen a current relationship.
- Get out of the house, especially if you live alone. Staying home all the time can intensify feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness can have a major impact on your health. Don’t suffer in silence; recognize the signs and reach out to others who can help. You can form new connections and strengthen your existing relationships.
If you are struggling with loneliness and would like to speak to a therapist, please reach out to Serenity Now Wellness Centre and book an appointment with Provisional Psychologist Katie Laird.