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Loneliness

Studying at university can be one of the greatest times of your life. You can meet like-minded people, make lifelong friends, and become involved in lots of different activities, events, and causes. Yet for many students across the UK, this is not the case.

Feeling lonely at university is very common and nothing to feel ashamed about. Entering into this level of education can bring with it new situations and stress. Whether this relates to being away from your family and friends for the first time, struggling with a new culture, integrating with peers younger than yourself, or struggling to socialise due to a long commute, everyone can experience loneliness and you are not the only one.

Please bear in mind that you do not need to be alone to feel lonely. A sense of belonging and togetherness is integral for building meaningful relationships with people. You may interact with lots of people on the surface, but if you don't have a true connection with them, loneliness is still a risk.

What NOT to do if you are feeling lonely

  • When feeling lonely, the temptation to hide away in your room can be strong. Binging hours and hours of Netflix may seem like a brilliant idea at the time, but doing so will only cement any feelings of loneliness you already have.
  • Try not to compare your experience of university with your friend's. Social media makes it easy for people to paint their life in a way that makes it look perfect, and you should take care not to let this impact you.
  • Don't hide your feelings when talking with your parents, partners, or friends. It is hard to admit, even to those who are closest to you, that you are lonely. By keeping your loved ones in the dark you create barriers that may inhibit any support that could help you.
  • Do not doubt your social skills just because you are feeling lonely. Awkwardness is a normal part of everyday human interaction.
  • Similarly, do not rationalise your loneliness. While a large part of university is about independent study and academic development, it is also about building new relationships beneficial both for your personal development and your professional career.

 

What you can do to help loneliness and isolation

  • Build a healthy, well-rounded routine - Routines enable and maintain meaningful connections with others. Make sure you know when you're studying, when you're exercising, and when you're socialising. Organising a weekly or even monthly plan can not only be therapeutic but help you feel better in terms of feeling lonely.
  • Join a society or club - There are many different groups you can get involved with at the University, choose one you're truly interested in and try and stick with it.
  • Reach out - Loneliness is an experience many go through. Ask those you are close to how they deal with it, they may have the answer!

 

Support through Wellbeing

Feeling lonely is not in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked. Having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely, and feeling lonely can have a negative impact on your mental health. Please contact the Wellbeing team if you feel like the loneliness or isolation you re experiencing is getting too much.

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The Wellbeing team offer many different services that can help you overcome your anxieties, such as Silvercloud, an online CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) programme that can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

 Support through Sport

Adventure off Campus is a brilliant scheme that connects students whilst participating in adventures and activities across the North-East. From kayaking to a country side walk, there is something for everyone... and it's free!

 Support through your Student Union

The SU runs a brilliant Buddies scheme which pairs students to one another based on shared interests, preferences, and area of study. This is a great platform to meet people if you are looking to connect, make some new friends, and learn about the University and the wider area of Sunderland. Beyond the buddies scheme, the staff at the SU are very friendly and organise social events for students regularly.

Find a list of their scheduled events here.

Support through Samaritans

Starting from October 7th, the Samaritans will be hosting drop-in sessions located at 1st Floor Edinburgh Building, Student Support Services on the first Monday of every month. They will be available to discuss loneliness and how to deal with the feeling. From 10:00am - 16:00pm feel free to come along and discuss any problems you may be having. 

To book an appointment, email us at wellbeing@sunderland.ac.uk or phone us at 0191 515 2933

Visit their website for more information on how they can help.

Support over the holidays

We realise that while some students go home for Christmas, others stay in accommodation. That's why we've compiled a list of events and activities that are happening around December and Christmas.

Hadrian's Tipi - 21st of November - 31st December - Located at Crowtree, near Keel Square, the Tipi features log fires, hot chocolate, mulled wine, and other reasonably priced food and drink. 

Keel Square Ice Rink - 21st of November - 5th of January - Located at Keel Square, skate, have fun, and get in the festive spirit while surrounded by lights and Christmas trees. £9 per person.

Festival of Light, Mowbray Park - 21st of November - 22nd of December - Open Thursday to Sunday, 4-9pm - Lighting, live music, Santa's reindeers, craft workshops, something for everyone.

A Christmas Carol by Atlas Theatre Company - Friday the 29th of November, Saturday the 30th of November, Sunday the 1st of December. Priestman Building, City Campus. 

Christmas Market trip to Newcastle - Tuesday the 3rd of December 17:30 - Meeting at the SU, they will be organising a trip to the Newcastle markets at Grey's Monument.

 

 

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