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Are you feeling lonely? The impact of the pandemic on loneliness levels is still being felt long after lockdowns have ended.

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What does loneliness mean?

We all feel lonely at times, it’s a natural human emotion. As people, we seek human contact, and feeling lonely is a signal that we need more of it. We might also feel that the quantity or quality of our relationships with the people around us are not as good as we'd like them to be.

We know that the lockdowns have led to increased feelings of loneliness. What might surprise you is that it's more likely to be young people aged 16 to 24 who feel lonely now, not older people, as we often think. Recent research has shown that older people are more likely to develop ways of coping with loneliness as their life circumstances change.

The effects of long-term loneliness on your health can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you’ve been feeling lonely for a long time, it’s always worth a call to your GP to make sure you're getting the right support.

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What can I do if I feel lonely?

We’ve listed lots of useful information below to help if you're feeling lonely. It includes small steps you can take to feel more connected with others, as well as the local support available in Middlesbrough.

If you're in emotional distress and need urgent support, please contact The Samaritans. They offer a safe space for anyone to talk and are available 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or email

Shout is a 24/7 free text service for anyone struggling to cope and in need of urgent help. Text SHOUT to 85258.

Other organisations which offer information and support for people in emotional distress are available via the BBC Action Line page.

Local support in Middlesbrough

  • Coffee morning in a bag: if you're over 60 and live in the Langdon Square/Tollesby Bridge area of Coulby Newham, get in touch with the Coulby Newham Baptist Church. They'll pop round with a 'coffee morning in a bag' and have a (safe) doorstep chat with you.
  • Andy’s Man Club is a safe space for men to talk openly about their feelings and problems, and get peer-to-peer support. Sessions run at Streets Ahead on Parliament Road, every Monday from 7pm.
  • Boro Man Can posts regular videos featuring real local men talking about their problems and how they cope, sharing their inspiration and hope with you.
  • Inward Bound is a community organisation based in Middlesbrough which offers emotional support, mindfulness, and meditation. Courses are currently running online.
  • Food and friendship with Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland lets you form new friendships and helps to build stronger communities.

Online support for young people

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Online and telephone support for older people

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Useful links and tips to manage loneliness