Loneliness, Isolation and Suicide

What are loneliness and isolation?

We all need to be surrounded by people we love. It’s one of our basic mental health needs. If this need goes unmet, it can result in a variety of negative health effects.


What is loneliness?

Loneliness is the feeling you get when there’s a shortfall between your desire for connection with others and the relationships you actually have. It can cause distress, even for someone who has people around them.

What is isolation?

Isolation is the state of being physically separated from other people. A person can be isolated because they have moved away from people who are important to them or because those people are no longer accessible.

What causes loneliness and isolation?

The following factors can contribute to loneliness and isolation:

  • Having a loved one die or move away
  • Losing significant family ties
  • Living alone
  • Having difficulty meeting new people
  • Being in poor physical shape, feeling fragile, or having mobility issues
  • Experiencing depression or anxiety
  • Fearing rejection or feeling different
  • Having physical health problems that prevent you from doing activities
  • Retiring, moving, or taking on a new role in your community
  • Being geographically isolated
  • Facing language and cultural barriers

What are the effects of loneliness and isolation?

Loneliness and isolation can have a range of effects, including:

  • Aches and pains or headaches, aggravation of existing medical conditions
  • Fatigue and loss of motivation
  • Sleep problems
  • Dietary issues
  • Addiction issues
  • Depression, panic attacks, anxiety, or paranoia
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Loneliness, isolation and suicidal thoughts

People who feel lonely or isolated may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you’re feeling lonely or isolated

It is possible to get better in spite of loneliness or isolation. If you show signs of loneliness or isolation, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people feeling lonely or isolated.


Advice for people feeling lonely or isolated

What I'm going through...