Living alone: loneliness, mental health and freedom to choose

ALMOST one in four (24 per cent) British adults living on their own say they feel lonely, with a further quarter (23 per cent) saying it is not good for their mental health.

The finding is from a survey of 4,258 British adults living on their own, aged 18+, conducted online between 30th October and 3rd November 2019. 

The research was commissioned by Community Led Homes and carried out by Savanta ComRes.

Community Led Homes describes itself as a ‘partnership project between the Confederation of Co-operative HousingLocality, the National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing“.

A report, ‘Home Aloners: the true cost of living alone in Britain today’, also reveals that over two in five (44 per cent) British adults say they would like to feel ‘more connected to people in their neighbourhood’.

But… three-quarters (75 per cent) of people living alone ‘like being able to make their own choices such as what to watch on TV’, 67 per cent ‘like the peace and quiet’ and 61 per cent ‘like not having to deal with other people’s annoying habits’.

The report adds that 51 per cent of respondents ‘want someone in their local area to ask for practical help if they need it’, 47 per cent ‘want people in their local area who would know if they were unwell’, 38 per cent ‘want opportunities to socialise with others in their local area’, 37 per cent ‘want a neighbour to talk to if they have a problem’ and 25 per cent ‘want common spaces in their local area to get to know neighbour’.

Community Led Homes identifies four types of community-led housing:

(1) Co-operative housing (housing that is controlled, managed and owned by its residents), (2) Cohousing (where residents have their own private homes with shared spaces to meet, eat and share resources, when they choose), (3) Community land trusts (where whole neighbourhoods come together to act as long- term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier), and (4) Self-help housing (where volunteers repair empty houses to bring them back to use).

The report launch – in December last year – accompanied a campaign, More than Housing, to assist communities “make supportive, affordable, secure homes together, and is encouraging people to consider community-led housing as a way of combating the challenges of solo living”.

Source: More than Housing, published December 2 2019, here.