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Most young people suffer loneliness

It’s always sad around this time of year to hear about the growing problem of loneliness amongst the elderly, however, it’s also a major issue for young people within modern society.

At Dame Kelly Holmes Trust (which is a national charity that uses world class athletes to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage through mentoring), we conducted a study in partnership with YouthSight across a sample of 1,013 young people aged between 16 and 24.

 What we found was that 72% of young people reported that they had recently felt lonely or isolated. The research also found a number of key trends based on demographics and behaviours:

  • Young people not currently in employment, education or training (NEET) were almost 20% more likely to feel lonely than those not categorised in this group.
  • Loneliness is gendered, with young women (75%) more likely to suffer than young men (69%)
  • Young people in Scotland reported the highest levels of loneliness in the UK (84%)
  • Young people in the North of England (78%) experienced higher levels of loneliness than those in the South of England (71%)
  • Only 31% of young people who stated they had recently felt lonely or isolated reported being motivated or resilient. This is compared to 70% of young people who said they never felt lonely.

 We work with thousands of young people facing disadvantage every year and a large amount of them suffer from isolation and loneliness for a diverse range of reasons. It’s a spiral that’s very difficult to escape from, especially as society becomes increasingly disconnected and we witness a decline in large aspects of community.

 Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the study was the disparity between loneliness and attitudes such as confidence and resilience. It’s essential that support is available to help young people realise these attitudes, which are crucial to developing emotional wellbeing and the vital social networks needed to live a positive life

 The research forms part of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust’s ‘Loneliness Appeal’, which aims to end loneliness for young people across the UK. For more information about the campaign and to show your support visit www.damekellyholmestrust.org or text LONE08 £5 to 70070 to give £5 today


Emma Atkins
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