A man in his 20s has asked Coleen for advice after suffering from loneliness (Image: Alamy Stock Photo)

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I’m a single man in my 20s and I’ve found things tough during the lockdowns. I live on my own and, for the first time in my life, I’ve felt very isolated, working from home on my own and barely seeing anyone.

I used to have a very full social life – I went out a lot with mates to bars and clubs, and I went to the gym regularly.

I was also cycling into work every day so saw colleagues, and I often did things with them at lunchtimes.

I could have formed a support bubble with my parents but they are in their 60s and my dad also has a heart condition. I didn’t want to put them at risk and so I haven’t seen them in nearly a year.

Can you suggest how I can feel better about my current situation?

Coleen says

You’re certainly not alone! I read a survey from November which found 24% of adults in the UK had experienced feelings of loneliness since the start of the pandemic.

It might not feel like it this week but there is light at the end of the tunnel and this period will pass, and you will be going back into work and connecting again.

But long term, feeling lonely can have a deep impact on your mental health, so I think it’s really important while we wait for the vaccine to start taking effect and restrictions to lift, that we really make the most of what’s available to us to connect with others.

Video calls aren’t the same as seeing people in person but they’re all we’ve got, so reach out and get some group chats in the diary. Also try online classes.

Try a random act of kindness and make someone else’s day. And get out of the house to walk, jog or cycle. I think even seeing other human beings is comforting.

You can find more advice and support at mind.org.uk.