Solos on Loneliness

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Loneliness affects all of our society - not just the elderly - but also those who have plenty of human contact.

This revelatory feature sheds light on the true impact of loneliness in Britain, exploring its experience and effects through interwoven personal accounts. We hear from experts working in mental health and from individuals across the country whose differing circumstances paint a picture of loneliness as a serious national epidemic.

Around one in ten people in Britain feel seriously lonely, and around a quarter of us are at significant risk of being lonely at any one time, according to a recent study by the Mental Health Foundation. Increasingly, we live alone, work more and see each other less. As a result, all manner of people find themselves without quality human contact.

Loneliness in Britain appears to be getting worse because of the geographical fragmentation of our families, our longer working hours and the contraction of our social networks. But this is a condition that can be embarrassing to discuss with others. In spite of the huge progress in other areas of mental health, very few figures in the public eye admit to feeling lonely.

Broadcaster Andy Kershaw talks about his experience of loneliness both before and after his well-publicised family breakdown.

We also hear the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, Dr Andrew McCulloch, on the steps we need to take to reduce the impact of loneliness on our population and the progress the UK is making in destigmatising mental health issues.

Through these stories we reflect on the nature of our relationships with others, and their crucial role in maintaining our mental health.



Produced by Iain Chambers
A Like It Is production for BBC Radio 4.
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