It’s normal for all of us to feel a little isolated while we’re following social distancing rules. But we know that for some of you this is becoming a serious problem that is significantly affecting your health and wellbeing. Here are some people you can speak to if you feel this way and want help.
Help us spread the word
Even if these issues don’t affect you personally, it’s likely someone in your local community is facing challenges like those we’re describing here. Please have a think about anyone who could benefit from this advice and share it with them. This might be particularly relevant for people you know over 70-years-old, for whom social isolation can be a big issue at any time. A simple phone call can go a long way.
If you are reading this on someone else’s behalf and they need help to register for any of the services we’ve listed below – perhaps due to lack of digital skills or internet access – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see how we can support them. Louise can also arrange training on any of the tools needed for video calls to stay connected with friends and family.
Befriending and check-in services
There are a number of charities and other organisations that can connect you with people to talk to when you are feeling isolated. These services can be used for anything from a quick chat to someone checking in to see if you need something like food or medicine. You can arrange one-off appointments or more regular conversations. Here are some of the options available.
NHS volunteer responders
The NHS has put together a network of volunteer responders to help vulnerable people across the country. This is available to you only if you have received a letter from the NHS telling you to self-isolate because of a pre-existing health condition.
These responders offer a check in and chat service for people struggling with social isolation. This might be good for you if you are missing your normally busy social life or just need a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.
Call in Time
Call in Time is a free telephone friendship service you can use if you’re aged 60 or over. You will be matched with someone your own age with similar interests to you. This is great if you want to use this time to spark up a new long-term friendship. Who knows? You might meet your new best friend.
To sign up you must be able to commit to a regular, 30-minute chat on the phone every week. Take a look at how you can register on the Age UK website’s dedicated page.
Other ways to stay in touch
If you are an older person, these schemes also allow you to stay in touch over the phone, either through regular one-to-one chats or as part of conversation groups.
- Independent Age Telephone Befriending service for older people regularly connects you over the phone with someone who cares
Call 0800 319 6789
- The Silver Line Telephone Friend service for older people connects you with someone to have a weekly chat to in the comfort of your own home
Call 0800 4 70 80 90
- The Silver Line Circles connects you to a group where people with shared interests can discuss topics that interest them
Call 0800 4 70 80 90
- The Help Hub is an online service with therapists across the UK offering free 20-minute sessions aimed at people who are self-isolating or struggling
Social isolation and your mental health
The current restrictions we face are taking a mental toll on all of us and you might start to feel overwhelmed. But you are not alone. There are a number of support organisations set up to help people facing these exact challenges. We’ve listed a few of them in our article about how you can find help to support your medical needs.
Stay in the know
We will keep this page updated with any new information we have. We have also published separate articles about accessing food, financial assistance, medical needs and other support if you are socially isolated. In the meantime, if you are worried about a friend, family member or someone in your community, please do share this information with them – especially if they cannot easily access information online. Thanks for your help.