Samaritans Assistant Director, Research & Influencing, Jacqui Morrissey responds to Office of National Statistics (ONS) data on loneliness among children and young people.
"Every suicide is complex, but we know loneliness is a risk factor. Given that suicides in young people have increased in recent years, it’s even more critical that we try to understand why this might be and how to reduce that risk.
"We’ve been talking to young people across the country about loneliness, echoing these findings, and many of them told us about the stigma they’ve faced in talking about their loneliness and the role this played in preventing them accessing support.
"While we will all probably feel lonely at some point in our lives, when people feel lonely most or all the time this can have a serious impact on a person’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
"We know that wider societal factors – childhood trauma, transitions into adulthood, difficult family relationships – can have a major role in fuelling youth loneliness, and it’s useful to see more detail from young people revealed in this data.
"The upcoming ten-year NHS plan should set out ambitious new targets to improve wellbeing in young people, including tackling loneliness. On a local level, much more funding is needed for services to rebuild our disconnected communities and support young people before they get to a point where it’s too late."