THE Royal Borough’s lead member for mental health said no one should feel “stigmatised” for feeling lonely.

As part of mental health awareness week back in May, it focused on the impact of loneliness and wanted people to know who experience this from all age groups that their mental health matters.

The Mental Health Foundation stated one in four adults feel lonely some or all the time and the longer people feel lonely, the more they are at risk of mental health problems.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con: Boyn Hill), lead member for mental health, said: “I think it’s important that we don’t just have these awareness weeks, as invaluable as they are, but we keep messaging awareness around mental health itself and keep to the agenda of having a really positive and enabling environment across the community and society to ensure that people can talk and speak openly about their mental health.”

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Since mental health awareness week was about loneliness, Cllr Carroll said no one, regardless of age group, should feel “stigmatised” for feeling lonely.

He said: “It’s completely wrong that this [loneliness] is just an old person’s reality. People of all ages can feel isolated for different reasons at any time.

“I think it’s really, really important that we get a message out there that’s a normal part of life and no one should feel embarrassed or stigmatised if they are feeling lonely.

“It’s something we have put a very big emphasis on throughout the council, particularly through adult social care and children’s services to work very hard at a range of initiatives.

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“We have strategic partnerships with the NHS in terms of direct services around loneliness and mental health and we’ve also been signposting people to charities such as MIND and the Samaritans when needed.”

Cllr Carroll also said the council also links people who are feeling lonely up with community groups or charities within the sport, leisure, and arts sectors or with the council’s youth service for them to get involved with other people.