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30% of Scots lonelier than a year ago – despite Covid restrictions easing

30% of Scots are lonelier than they were a year ago, despite Covid restrictions easing, a survey has found. (Gareth Fuller/PA)
30% of Scots are lonelier than they were a year ago, despite Covid restrictions easing, a survey has found. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Almost a third of Scots feel lonelier than they did this time last year, despite the easing of Covid restrictions.

A YouGov survey, carried out for the British Red Cross, found this was the case for 30% of people.

It comes as the charity warned that the rising cost of living could lead to greater social isolation.

More than four fifths (84%) of those questioned agreed loneliness is still a problem, even though Covid restrictions have eased – with almost three fifths of people (59%) saying they sometimes, often or always feel lonely,

Nearly nine of 10 (89%) of those surveyed agreed that the rising cost of living will make people lonelier – with more than half (53%) saying they are now restricting how much they socialise because of increasing costs.

A total of 1,000 adults across Scotland were questioned for the poll, with the research taking place between June 9-13.

The findings were released during Loneliness Awareness Week, with Kenneth Watt – policy and public affairs manager with the British Red Cross – stating: “Too many people are lonely in Scotland, and this has only got worse since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

“These latest findings show that the rising cost of living is also leading to greater social isolation.”

While he said that “everybody can get lonely”, Mr Watt added that there were “many simple steps to better protect people” from this.

He said the British Red Cross was “committed to ensuring that people have somewhere to turn to” as he said: “Now is the time to think about the kind of society we want to become as we face these challenges and emerge from them on the other side.

“It is vital that support is targeted at the most vulnerable and that further efforts are made to ensure all of us enjoy those quality human connections that enrich our lives.”

Dr Jess Sussmann, policy lead at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “This important research by the British Red Cross, comes as no surprise.

“The pandemic and coming out of it, has caused a considerable amount of loneliness within vulnerable groups and as a society we’re now having to deal with the many problems which come from the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s important that we all work together to tackle this problem.

“There is a range of support available including self-help apps and support groups, if you or a loved one is worried about loneliness and its impact on your mental health.

“During Loneliness Awareness Week, we’d urge people to seek help urgently and talk to others if you’re feeling down or vulnerable.”

Anyone aged 18 or over in Scotland who is struggling with loneliness or social isolation can contact the British Red Cross’ Connecting With You service on 0300 30 36 077 between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

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