Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Loneliness is a scourge, and its extent in our society is unknown.
When I worked as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), I encountered many, many lonely people of all ages and abilities. Single parents, struggling to cope. Elderly folk. people with physical or mental health problems and those with drug or alcohol problems. But sometimes, simply people without close family or friends. I have spent a lot of time away from home during my working life, but have never felt lonely. Since my retirement due to dementia however, there have been occasions when I have yearned for company on the days and nights when Pam is away at work. A couple of months ago, I attended a webinar hosted by Alzheimer's Society at which Baroness Barran (Minister for Civil Society, sometimes known as the Minister for loneliness) listened to our stories of loneliness in lockdown. I thought that that was the end of the story, but a few weeks ago, I was contacted and asked if I would have an online chat about loneliness with a chap from the Government's department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). I was of course, delighted.
My responses to some of the questions he asked were mixed with an animation and formed a contribution to the DCMS 'Living With Loneliness' campaign, which you can find here: https://letstalkloneliness.co.uk/ The animation was released on Christmas Eve as part of their loneliness avdent calendar, and here is the short piece of animation...
I feel very honoured to have been asked to contribute to this important project, and I hope that it may help raise public perception and awareness a little. Loneliness is an awful thing at the best of times, but during a pandemic it can be compounded.
If YOU are lonely, please reach out. Just contact someone. Anyone. and tell them how you feel. There are people waiting to meet you and befriend you, but they cannot see you unless you hold up your hand and show them where you are. The Red Cross have a helpline on 0808 196 3651
And the Samaritans can be reached on 116 123 Now it's time for me to relax and recharge my batteries before storming into what I hope will be a busy and productive New Year.
*** UPDATE *** Since writing this post, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to be a contributor to a podcast on this important topic. You can listen to it here: https://letstalkloneliness.co.uk/story/letstalkloneliness-podcast/