Dealing with Loneliness and Mental Health
Loneliness and isolation can lead to poor mental health, or make existing issues worse. If you're feeling lonely, it can take a toll on not only your mental health but eventually your physical health as well.
The good news is, we are now recognising the impacts of loneliness and isolation on mental health, We can now step in and help by bringing you resources on where you can go for a chat, a catch up, to try a new hobby, and generally connect with others in Norfolk.
Lockdown update: Owing to the latest lockdown announced in January, many clubs and support groups will be unable to meet in person. Many of these are still meeting online, however, so you can still get access to support and guidance if you require it.
Ways in which you can catch up with others
We appreciate that times are tough for many right now. As winter rolls around, feelings of loneliness and isolation can increase, particularly with government restrictions preventing us from catching up with friends and family.
The good news, however, is that you are not alone, and support and resources are available. There are so many ways to keep connected with others around Norfolk, which you can go out and try locally with up to one other person, or experience from the comfort of your own home.
The easiest ways could be to find a place to exercise with a friend, or catch up virtually with a family member. Remember, whilst you are currently allowed out to exercise once a day, this does not include recreation or leisure, so you must be seen to be exercising.
If the above aren't possible, don't worry, there are plenty more options below.
Arts and Crafts: Create something new
Whether you're a seasoned arts and crafts buff, or just fancy picking up a paintbrush or a knitting needle, there are several ways to get connected whilst trying out new arts and crafts with others.
Groups and Resources
- Together in Norfolk provide ways to bring people struggling with mental illness together. They organise fun ways of getting involved with arts and crafts, and encourage conversations to get people connected.
- Woodwork Club at Community Roots offers a friendly supportive atmosphere encouraging social inclusion and continued learning. Bring your own upcycle project or join in with others. These sessions will resume from January 2021.
- Art and Craft Club at Community Roots enable you to bring your own art or crafts projects to work on in a small friendly group. These sessions will resume from January 2021.
- Art Group in Kings Lynn every Tuesday from 10am-12pm encourages people to explore different types of arts and crafts, and try new things. Contact Sharon for more information
Music: Discover new sounds
You don't need to be a qualified musician to enjoy music. Whether you just want to listen to some beautiful music, or have a go at creating your own, there are several groups and resources available to get you started.
Groups and Resources
- Music groups in Heacham and King's Lynn provide a space to explore and develop a love of music. This could be playing a quiz, listening to different music or banging a drum. Contact Sharon Pitt for more information.
- Mind The Gap is an inclusive music group in Norwich. It provides a friendly, safe environment to socialise with fellow musicians, play music, form bands, write songs and perform.
- The Black Dog Music Project is a Norwich Based Charity that provides help and support for people with mental health problems. They run weekly music sessions to help support people in learning new instruments or regaining forgotten skills. Whilst they are not currently meeting due to COVID restrictions, they will hopefully be reopening in the new year.
- Online Christmas Concerts - 18th and 20th December. Watch as people from NCC, Norfolk Secondary Schools and the local community band together to put on a festive show!
Chat: Find a listening ear
Whilst it's lovely to get together and join in on an activity, sometimes all you need is a cup of tea and a listening ear. Below are places you can go either in person or virtually for a chat with others.
Groups and Resources
- Mind over Natter is a weekly virtual get-together offering a caring and supportive environment for chatting and sharing wellbeing tips. Join them online every Wednesday at 11am. Email Paola Colombo for to sign up.
- Winter Safe Haven is a drop-in service in Heacham offering friendship and support for people living in Norfolk this winter. You can drop in every Tuesday and Saturday between 10.30am and 2.30pm.
- There's a discussion group in King's Lynn which provides an opportunity to chat with people like you about the weather, your feelings, the news... whatever's on your mind!
- There's also an LGBTQ+ group based in King's Lynn where you can sit and chat with your peers, share experiences, help and support each other. For more information on either of the above, contact Sharon Pitt.
- Better Together is a Facebook group where the members have the opportunity to meet daily at 2pm to connect and get talking. Members are encouraged to share stories, and chat about whatever takes their fancy. Great Yarmouth also have their own designated chat page here.
- Norwich Social Tonic and Introverts of Norwich are both groups on Meetup which offer the option to meet up with other members and meet new people in a relaxed environment, whether it's over lunch or just an afternoon walk.
- Local Library Socials: Want a chat? Then join the 'Just a Cuppa' on Zoom which meets weekday mornings at 10.30am. To take part please email email@example.com stating which day you'd like to join. If you've never used Zoom, library staff will help you to get started.
Other: The possibilities are endless
From gardening, to movies, to an old-fashioned pub quiz, the number of things we can connect over are endless. If you're looking to try something new, why not check out one of the events or groups below and get involved?
- Gardening 4 Health: The award-winning allotment is situated in the heart of King's Lynn, and is now inviting people to come and test their green thumbs together.
- Community Roots Gardening Project: Community Roots is a flourishing community garden with education space in Great Yarmouth. They have regular group gardening sessions. Adults can apply to take part in a 12-week programme of practical gardening, as well as workshops in workshops in food growing, composting, ecotherapy , woodwork and willow weaving.
Please note, the above many not be running during lockdown. Be sure to call ahead and check what is running.
Movies and Film:
- Virtual Drive-In Cinema of Trash: Meet up online, watch terrible movies together, and have a laugh on the chat
- What's On The Box: Come along and chat about something you've watched recently; our very own version of Gogglebox!
Baking and Cooking:
- Virtual Christmas Bake Off: You don't need to be a pastry wizard for this one on 23 December!
- Recipe Swap Shop: Show off your favourite festive recipes
- Jay's Virtual Pub Quiz: Free to play along with popular quiz hosted on Youtube - you can join in and chat to others!
- Yellow Elephant Quizzes: Paid quizzes on different topics, from Harry Potter to General Knowledge!
Sports and Physical Activities:
- All To Play For is a weekly socially inclusive drop-in football programme for men struggling with poor mental health. It's made a significant and positive impacton the lives of the participants and is being relaunched following the lockdown.
- There are many sports, activities and classes to be found through our Activity Finder. Whilst these are not mental-health specific, they are a great way to meet new people and try new things - most can be done online so you can join from your living room.
- Our Active Outdoors section provides some great ways to get in touch with nature. We have a huge variety of walks, coastal paths, cycle routes. Plus there are plenty of accessible routes with our On The Move Outdoors section.
- Our Exercises for Mental Health include yoga, stretches and mindful exercises that can help calm your mood and reduce feelings of stress.
- Start 2021 Active: Our online January advent calendar brings you a new local trainer, class or club with a brand new exercise or workout to try every single day!
- If you are struggling with mental health, know you are not alone. There are many charities and organisations in Norfolk and the UK who can listen and support you. Find a list here.
- REST is a partnership project that brings together mental health support, local services and a place where everyone can feel welcome.
- There are many forums and chat rooms on the internet, where you can talk to people who know how you're feeling. The Mental Health Forum was started by the Mental Health Foundation and is an inclusive forum which covers a range of topics, and could help how you're feeling.
Thanks to Norfolk and Waveney Mind and the Wellbeing service for all their help in gathering together resources and providing opportunities for those struggling with mental health.
For a full list of events being hosted by Norfolk and Waveney mind, click here.
For the full list of events being hosted by the Wellbeing service, click here.