It is incredible how loneliness can impact on health and wellbeing. It is important though to be mindful that there are some that prefer to be alone, with equal necessity for health and wellbeing. These are two very different things yet can be interconnected. If someone is lonely, it is often because they are missing contact due to circumstances beyond their control. Loneliness is much more common than we think. You can be around people and be lonely - it is about the interaction. Some people say that their pet is company, that they talk to them, stroke them, feed them and there is that interaction, even without speech. Those who like to be alone, may be quite content in the company of others but do not wish to engage with the interaction.
There are conditions that can contribute to either of these, but there is also something about the nature of others too that requires that deeper knowledge and understanding, that they are not imposed upon but being communicated with. This is a fine balance and requires an empathic sensibility.
So how do we tackle loneliness and the need to be alone, maybe talk to the person in the queue next to you or on the bus ride into town. Invite one of the parents at the gate for a coffee. Ask a close friend if they are getting enough time to themselves to rebalance in a world of noise. We are better connected than ever, but there remains something about the solidarity of a look, or a smile or a touch on the arm that can bring that special something that is, being connected. Just being, when someone wants to be alone in your company, shows true understanding.
Loneliness and being alone, different yet connected through the ability to understand one another at a truly human level.