Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Loneliness and isolation

3-minute read

At some time in your life you may feel lonely or isolated from other people and the world around you. These feelings are normal but there are many things you can do to overcome them.

Why do I feel lonely or isolated?

You can feel lonely or isolated for many reasons even when other people are around you. Some reasons you might feel lonely or isolated include:

How can loneliness and isolation affect my health?

Feeling connected to others is important for our mental and physical wellbeing and can protect against anxiety and depression. If you feel alone or socially isolated for a long time, you might experience physical or mental problems or do things that are bad for you.

  • Physical symptoms — such as headaches, feeling ill, having pains, feeling tired, having sleep problems or lacking motivation.
  • Mental health conditions — such as depression, feeling anxious, having panic attacks or feeling paranoid.
  • Low energy — feeling tired or not having motivation.
  • Sleep problems — not being able to get to sleep, stay asleep or waking up a lot.
  • Diet problems — such as putting on weight, losing weight or losing your appetite.
  • Negative feelings — such as feeling worthless or hopeless or thinking about suicide.
  • Substance abuse — such drinking a lot of alcohol, misusing medicines or taking drugs.

What can help?

You can help to overcome loneliness and isolation and improve your life by:

  • Connecting with family and friends — visit, phone, email or use video technology.
  • Connecting with communities online — join a game where you can chat to people.
  • Getting out of the house — go shopping, exercise, join a club or enrol to study.
  • Volunteering — meet new people to feel connected and valued.
  • Getting a pet — talking about pets is a great conversation starter when you meet people. Pets can also improve your physical and mental health.

Where to get more help

FriendLine supports anyone who's feeling lonely, needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. You can call them 7 days a week on 1800 424 287, or chat online with one of their trained volunteers. All conversations with FriendLine are anonymous.

Feeling lonely or isolated for a long time or for no obvious reason could be a sign of depression. Talk to your doctor, a counsellor, good friends and family, or one of these organisations might be able to help you.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Pets and mental health | Coping | ReachOut Australia

We all know that pets doing hilarious things win the internet, but did you know that pets can also be winners for mental health, too?

Read more on ReachOut.com website

How to deal with isolation if you live in a rural or remote area | Isolation and loneliness | ReachOut Australia

Finding a job, friends and health services is a lot harder when you live outside of a major city. Check out our tips on how to overcome these rural and remote hurdles.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Loneliness and isolation

Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

Read more on Lifeline website

Depression and loneliness | Open Arms

When feelings of sadness are too intense or stick around for a long time, it can be hard to work, socialise or take care of things at home.

Read more on Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling website

Pain | Open Arms

Chronic pain wears you down and can leave you feeling angry or depressed. Physical and mental health and wellbeing are all closely related.

Read more on Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling website

Separation anxiety in the already lonely – supporting older and vulnerable people who live alone - Black Dog Institute

Read more on Black Dog Institute website

Understand More - Keep The World Open

You can change how you respond to and behave around people living with dementia

Read more on Dementia Australia website

Self-stigma

Self-stigma reflects negative, culturally-generated stereotypes, beliefs and emotions about a specific feature shared by a group of people

Read more on SANE Australia website

Beating stress and depression in the festive season | HealthEngine Blog

The festive season is a time of celebration, but for many Australians the festivities also mean extra pressures, like buying gifts, attending many social gatherings, staying away from home and/or entertaining family and friends. Coupled with great (and often unmet) expectations of what the festive season will bring, these pressure can build up and cause stress, which if ignored may lead to mental health disorders, particularly depression.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Anxiety and fear | Open Arms

If anxiety is interfering with your capacity to function normally (or even leave the house), it's time to get help.

Read more on Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo