Scarlett Moffatt: I was so lonely I rang Samaritans

By Michelle Roberts
Digital health editor

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Image source, Samaritans

Samaritans ambassador Scarlett Moffatt has revealed that she used the suicide prevention charity for support after feeling low and lonely.

The TV celebrity, who shot to fame after appearing on Gogglebox and I'm A Celebrity, hopes that sharing her story will help others who may be struggling.

Samaritans says the Covid pandemic has led to more people calling its helpline about loneliness and isolation.

It is an issue affecting all ages.

Nearly a third of all callers contacting the charity during the pandemic mentioned it. Prior to that, it was about a quarter.

Official statistics suggest loneliness during the Covid lockdown has been much more intense in poorer, urban areas and places with a higher proportion of young people. The Office for National Statistics data found people aged between 16 and 24 were the most likely to report feeling lonely.

Alice Gray, a producer from Cardiff, told the BBC last year how sociable singledom turned into lockdown loneliness, and left her craving human touch after months of no hugs.

She said: "Being alone in a pandemic without any of my loved ones went against every instinct I had, and I felt like my tank was running on empty in terms of how much longer I could cope.

"Even when I was at really difficult points, there was no-one to turn to."

Image source, Alice Gray
Image caption,
Celebrating the last birthday of her 20s alone, Alice missed her friends and family

Scarlett has said she felt "lost and lonely" after moving to the capital following her I'm A Celebrity win in 2016.

She said: "I remember feeling guilt when I felt lonely - because to many people I have no reason to feel alone, but loneliness affects us all.

"Sometimes it can feel like there is a negative stigma around admitting that you're lonely, but it's something that most people will have experienced at one point in their life. There is no shame in feeling alone, and it's OK to talk about it.

"In the world of social media, it's not always clear to see when people are feeling sad or lonely."

Scarlett says she rang Samaritans for support and would urge anyone else struggling to do so too.

"Talking to someone who didn't know me, or judge me, really helped when I wanted to talk about how I was feeling."

Channique, from Manchester, who has been a listening volunteer for Samaritans for three years, said: "Loneliness is a normal human feeling, but if these feelings persist, it can make you feel disconnected from those around you and affect your mental wellbeing. I frequently hear just how challenging it can be during my shifts.

"Most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. You don't have to be alone to feel lonely. There's no shame in recognising feelings of loneliness - or seeking support if you are struggling."

While most of us want to spend some time alone, loneliness is about feeling disconnected from the people around you to the point it affects your mental wellbeing.

You can feel it in a crowd of friends or by yourself.

Tips if you are feeling lonely:

  • Open up and talk about it with someone - a friend, colleague, your GP or a helpline
  • Be kind to yourself - give yourself a break and do something you love
  • Connect with your community - perhaps try a parkrun, join a club or volunteer
  • Try not to compare yourself with others

If you have been affected by any of these issues in this story you can visit BBC Action Line.

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