A mother-of-three has claimed she could be ‘Britain’s loneliest woman’ after making no friends for over a decade and not speaking to another adult for weeks at a time.
Emily Fox, 32, who says she visits supermarkets just to chat to strangers, shared her experience of loneliness to highlight an issue which doesn’t just affect the elderly.
Full time mum Emily, from Wolverhampton, added that she ‘won’t speak to a single person for up to three weeks’ and rarely sees her family.
After sharing her experience of loneliness online last week, Emily received an influx of messages from people who were willing to be friends.
She said: ‘I haven’t made any friends for years and I often feel very lonely.
‘No one thinks loneliness affects people in their 30s, everyone thinks it’s something that affects older people.
‘Every always sees me as a happy and bubbly person but deep down I am very lonely.’
In January, Theresa May appointed the UK’s first ever minister for loneliness to tackle the isolation felt by more than one in ten people in the UK.
“We should all do everything we can to see that… we bring an end to the acceptance of loneliness for good,” Mrs May said in a statement. “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.”
Most doctors in Britain see between one and five patients a day who have come mainly because they are lonely, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness, a network tackling the health threat isolation poses to the elderly.
The majority of people over 75 live alone and about 200,000 older people in the UK have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month, according to government data.
But Emily says it’s not just about age.
She added: ‘It’s even more apparent at this time of year when people start to think about Christmas and parties that they’ll be attending.
‘I hope other people read my story and can relate to the way I feel as it’s really isolating.’
Emily knows that some people will argue that it’s impossible to feel lonely with three children but she doesn’t agree.
She added: ‘I can’t have proper conversations with my children and often they’re at school or at their dads.
‘I have tried attending parent and baby groups but I still felt isolated at those so I stopped going.
‘It has been hard dealing with the feeling of being lonely but I have learnt how to cope with it over the years.’
Emily believes if more stories were shared like hers that more could be done to prevent other young women feeling lonely.
=According to psychiatrists Dr Farhana Mann And Dr Francesca Solmi, the issue of loneliness among younger people is not being given enough attention.
Writing on the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health website, they write: “When looking at the posters, campaign leaflets, resource packs and even scientific papers on the issue of loneliness– one can’t help but notice the vast majority of the discourse centres around older people.
“What is also notable is that most of the literature on interventions to reduce loneliness also centres on older people. This is understandable to an extent, as older people (in particular the ‘oldest old’ aged over 85 years) constitute a ‘high risk’ group.
“However, there is emerging evidence that loneliness (and the related concept of social isolation) also peaks in young adulthood.
“It is therefore vital that we take steps to better understand the specific experiences of young people.”