Understanding loneliness and its relationship with mental health issues
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Understanding loneliness and its relationship with mental health issues

Bronwen Williams Mental health nurse and educator, Bronwen Williams Development Training & Consultancy, Worcestershire, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the causes and effects of loneliness

  • To recognise the link between loneliness and mental health issues

  • To identify different ways to support people who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought loneliness and related issues to the forefront of public awareness. Most people will have experienced some form of social isolation or loneliness during the repeated lockdowns and shielding requirements that were introduced to reduce the spread of infection. Mental health issues can also lead to loneliness and social isolation, while loneliness can produce similar signs and symptoms to mental health issues or exacerbate such issues. This article explores the concept of loneliness and its effects and describes how, in its most severe form, it can result in significant mental and physical harm. The article also considers what mental health practitioners, including nurses, can do to support people at risk of or experiencing loneliness.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2022.e1601

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software




Conflict of interest

None declared

Williams B (2022) Understanding loneliness and its relationship with mental health issues. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2022.e1601


This article was written following the author’s involvement with the Better Together Project, funded by The Health Foundation and supported by Public Health Wales. The author would like to acknowledge this project and its contributors

Published online: 11 January 2022

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