Lockdown loneliness in the UK has reached its highest levels since social distancing began in March, the latest figures suggest.
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), 4.2 million adults – or 8% of the UK population – were "always or often" feeling lonely at the start of November.
The latest figures also suggest that young people aged between 16 and 29 are twice as likely as over-70s to be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation during the pandemic.
The poll was taken in the first week of November as the clocks went back, making evenings darker sooner, and England introduced a second strict coronavirus lockdown.
The BBC reports that before the pandemic, just 5% of people said that they "always or often" felt lonely.
The government's Let's Talk Loneliness website points out that "feeling lonely or disconnected is a natural reaction to the current coronavirus pandemic". It also emphasises the importance of not blaming yourself for feelings of loneliness at this or any time.
It recommends making a special effort to keep in touch with friends, family and co-workers, or joining an online group with people who have similar interests to you.
Reaching out to other people who may be experiencing loneliness – especially those who are self-isolating – is another way of making those all-important human connections at this incredibly testing time.
If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call the British Red Cross's dedicated coronavirus support line, which is open from 10am to 6pm every day on 0808 196 3651.
Under 25s can also call The Mix on 0808 808 499. This organisation offers free and confidential support to young people in the UK, and runs text and online chat support services too.
Further advice on how to cope with feelings of loneliness during the pandemic is available on the Let's Talk Loneliness website.
Meanwhile, under 25s can