Loneliness and social isolation are the biggest challenges faced by refugees arriving in London. They have been forced to leave their home country, their community and often their family as they flee war and persecution. New refugees are keen to make friends and contribute to society, but they face language and cultural barriers that can make this difficult. These barriers can separate refugees from the people around them, and make building a new life very lonely work.
This month, the Spotlight on Loneliness campaign focuses on mental health. The relationship between this and loneliness is complicated. Having poor mental health can increase one’s chance of feeling lonely, and loneliness can be damaging to mental health. This month we will see both sides of the equation, and hear from some people working to help those affected.
There are an estimated 6.5 million carers in the UK and statistics from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) have recently reported suicide rates for male and female care workers are now three times the national average.
Throughout August we will be shining the spotlight on loneliness among carers. Nearly 7 million adults in the UK look after a sick or disabled family member or friend who cannot care for themselves. Carers often have little time to themselves and can become lonely and socially isolated.
When the University of York researched our work last year, they found that media technology could help recovering addicts to reduce their use of damaging substances. That is why we donate TVs and radios to organisations like Growing Rooms, a service offered by St George’s Crypt to help homeless people overcome addiction.
Here, Christine from St George’s Crypt tells us more about Growing Rooms and the difference it makes to service users.