Loneliness in lockdown has reached record levels - what to do if you're feeling isolated

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the levels of loneliness across the UK have increased.

The week after the clocks went back saw eight per cent of adults in the UK reporting being "always or often lonely," representing 4.2 million people. This was the highest peak in loneliness since the March lockdown.

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The ONS report also revealed that 2.6 million people (five per cent of adults) reported not leaving their home for any reason during the previous seven days.

Pre-pandemic studies showed around five per cent of adults (around 2.6 million people) reporting themselves to be "always or often" lonely.

How to combat loneliness

If you're one of the many people feeling isolated, there are plenty of resources available to help. These are some top tips for anyone feeling lonely:

Though real life meetings will be off the cards for now, many local groups will have moved their operation online. Search on the internet to see whether there are online book clubs, parent groups or exercise classes that you can join remotelyLocal Facebook groups can also be a great way of reaching out to people in your area who may similarly be looking for company for walks or outdoor exerciseRefer yourself to LetsTalkLoneliness.co.uk, which has a host of resources available for anyone feeling isolatedConsider popping a note through your neighbour's door asking if they need any help with grocery shopping or anything else. They may be feeling just as lonely as youStay in touch with the people around you via text, phone and video call and don't be afraid to open up - many people are feeling down during this difficult period. Try not to worry about being perceived as a nuisance

If your mental health is suffering, remember that you can contact the Samaritans at any time of day for free on 116 123. They will offer you help without any judgement. Alternatively, you can email the Samaritans on [email protected].