With new loneliness surveys being released virtually monthly and pointing to how lonely many young people feel, it's hard to deny the pervasiveness of the problem in 2018. Last year, BBC Radio 4 published the results of the largest survey into the issue to date and concluded that 16-24-year-olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group. Of the more than 55,000 respondents, 40% of this young cohort reported feeling lonely often or very often, compared to only 29% of 65-74-year-olds and 27% of over-75s.
Many people have placed the blame on modern life – on the competitiveness and low self-esteem induced by social media, and the lack of community inherent in our home rental culture – but it turns out that loneliness may simply be a factor of youth. Older respondents to the BBC's survey also said some of the loneliest times of their lives were when they were young. Rather than blaming Instagram, then, it's more likely that leaving home and starting university, college or a new job makes us feel uprooted from everything we've known before and unsure of our place in the world, the BBC concluded.
It's all well and good talking openly about how lonely we all are – if only for reassurance that we're not alone – but how can we actually get out of this rut? Loneliness has been described as a "health hazard" as dangerous as obesity and smoking, so it's clear something urgent needs to be done. Click through for nine coping strategies from people who know what they're talking about.