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Tackling loneliness at Christmas: How to spot the signs someone is suffering and what you can do to help

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4 days ago Katie Wilson For Mailonline

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We’re committed to supporting society’s most vulnerable this Christmas.

Millions of children and older people will wake up this festive season feeling lonely, isolated and with no one to turn to.

Our Christmas Together Appeal connects people in crisis to the vital services who can help. Join us or donate here.

It is supposed to bring friends and family together, but for some people Christmas can be the hardest, and loneliest, time of the year. 

An Age UK survey found half a million older people expect to feel lonely over the festive period and don't look forward to it as it's 'just another day.'

Yet four in five have not sought any help and it's not unusual for over-65s to go a whole month without speaking to friends and family.

While loneliness is commonly associated with the elderly, latest figures show it is an issue affecting many young people too. 

One in ten 10 to 17-year-olds say they feel lonely often, according to research by The Children's Society.   

a person sitting at a table in front of a window: One in ten 10 to 17 year-olds reported feeling lonely often and young adults aged 16 to 24 say they feel more lonely than any other age group, latest figures reveal © Provided by Daily Mail One in ten 10 to 17 year-olds reported feeling lonely often and young adults aged 16 to 24 say they feel more lonely than any other age group, latest figures reveal And surprisingly, it is younger adults aged 16 to 24 who are most likely to report being lonely than any other age group, figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal. 

Richard Crellin, Policy and Research Manager for The Children’s Society said: 'While people might be more likely to worry about older friends and family being lonely, research shows that it's children and young people who are most likely to feel especially lonely. 

'This Christmas we’d urge you to think about young people and how you can help them feel that they’re not alone.'

There are many reasons why people might feel lonely at Christmas, from being reminded of lost loved ones, to feeling anxious or left out of the seemingly endless social events over the festive period. 

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More on MSN UK’s Christmas Together Charity Appeal:

Why children and the elderly are society’s most vulnerable this Christmas

Make a donation to support older people

Just £6 can help feed a UK child in crisis a warm meal. £25 gifts them a safe place to stay

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Here psychologist Joanna Konstantopoulou, founder of Health Psychology Clinic in London's Harley Street, gives her expert tips on how to reach out to someone you think might be struggling over Christmas, whether they are young or old. 

What are the top signs an elderly person is suffering with loneliness?  

What are the top signs a child or teenager is suffering with loneliness?

a person holding a baby: Small gestures like getting someone involved with Christmas activities can make a huge difference to people suffering from loneliness as it makes them feel part of something © Provided by Daily Mail Small gestures like getting someone involved with Christmas activities can make a huge difference to people suffering from loneliness as it makes them feel part of something

What is the best way to reach out to someone you think might be struggling? 

'People with anxiety and loneliness might worry they'll bring those around them down or be a burden, but it's always better to talk than suffer in silence. 

'If you know someone is struggling with any of the above around Christmas time, you should try to distract them with some festive activities, such as making Christmas wreaths or going to a Christmas market together. 

'Expecting less from people who are struggling with anxiety and loneliness is the best approach during the Christmas period.'

What can you do to help?        

'When someone is suffering from loneliness, no matter how young or old, it's important to let them know that they are not alone - as obvious as that may seem. 

'Pick up the phone, call around to theirs for a cuppa, or invite them to yours. 

'Keep them in the loop and tell them about some of the festive events you are planning to attend to encourage them to make plans too, so they have something to look forward to. 

'Although it might be a bit of a squeeze, invite them around on Christmas Day if you know they haven't been invited elsewhere. This might only seem like a small gesture, but it could make a world of difference to them. 

'Finally, make a new Christmas tradition with them. This will make them feel like they are part of something unique and special, reminding them that they are not alone.'

Our Christmas Together Appeal proudly supports Age UK and The Children’s Society who are providing vital services to society’s most vulnerable this festive season. Because no one should feel alone. Together we can make a big difference. Join us here.


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