Guide: What is loneliness?

Last updated at 13:29
A young girl sat on a bed facing away from the cameraJupiter Images

Anyone can feel lonely and it's completely normal to feel this way sometimes.

But if it makes you feel down, there are things you can do.

These children say they've all experienced loneliness and want to share what helped make them feel better.

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Loneliness: how does it feel and what can you do about it?
What is loneliness?

Loneliness is when someone feels down because they're on their own or they feel isolated.

There are lots of reasons why people feel this way - loneliness isn't always about simply being alone.

You can be lonely even though you're surrounded by people.

And on the other hand, there are people who really enjoy being on their own and having their own space.

Why do people feel lonely?

There are lots of reasons why people might feel this way.

They can be around other people but think they don't understand or care about them.

It might be hard making friends, for example after moving house or starting a new school.

Being bullied or not getting on with the people they live with can also make someone feel isolated.

A girl sitting on a bed holding a tablet

Social media can be an issue too.

Seeing friends socialising online can make them think their life isn't as exciting or they might feel down because they weren't invited.

The number of likes and shares that a photo or post gets online can also make people feel lonely.

There might also be practical and physical reasons.

For example, if someone is ill or disabled they might not be able to get out of their home to meet or make friends.

Who feels lonely?

Anyone can feel lonely, whether they are young or old, a girl or boy, confident or shy.

Some celebrities, including singer Justin Bieber, have opened up about feeling lonely too.

Childline says the number of young people wanting help to deal with loneliness has gone up.

The charity's latest figures show that they gave 4,636 counselling sessions for loneliness in 2017/18 - compared to 4,063 the year before.

Most were teenagers but the youngest person to call with the problem was 10 years old.

A boy wearing a hoody looks down
What can I do if I feel lonely?

If you are worried about loneliness or feeling lonely, there is a lot of support out there for you to get help.

Speak to an adult you trust, like a parent, guardian or a teacher.

You can also contact Childline - a counselling charity for people aged 18 and under - on 0800 1111 for free at any time.

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