Pandemic creates 'lockdown loneliness'
Around one in seven people in Hartlepool felt lonely over the winter as the nation endured the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, new figures suggest.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey conducted between October 14 and February 22 asked people if their well-being had been affected in the last seven days by the pandemic.
Of those in the area who said it had, 48.2% attributed this to being lonely – above the national average of 38.6%.
The survey also found that 15.3% of adults in the area said they felt lonely “often” or “always” – although the ONS cautioned that this was based on a small sample.
The average across Britain was 7.2%, up from around 5% when a similar survey was carried out between April and May last year.
The ONS said young people were more likely to suffer from this form of “lockdown loneliness” and charities have called for people's mental health and wellbeing to be made a priority in the recovery from Covid-19.
Tom Madders, director of campaigns at mental health charity YoungMinds, said: “It’s important that young people know where to go to get support for their mental health if they are struggling and that they can access help as soon as they need it.”
Lucy Schonegevel, associate director for policy and practice at the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: “The widespread disruption of the pandemic has highlighted that loneliness can be driven not solely by the absence of friends and family, but also the lack of face-to-face connection in the workplace and in the community."