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Loneliness and mental health

Previous research has shown that there is an important link between loneliness and mental health conditions. However, the nature of this link, and the mechanisms that underpin these, require further exploration.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has commissioned NatCen Social Research (NatCen) to conduct research into the relationship between loneliness and mental health conditions and the underpinning mechanisms. Specifically, the research aims to understand:

  • How those with diagnosed mental health problems experience loneliness
  • To what extent social stigma associated with mental health conditions plays a role in loneliness
  • How experiences of loneliness among those who have experienced mental health conditions vary by life stage

Who is carrying out the research?

This research is being carried out by NatCen on behalf of DCMS. NatCen is an independent, not-for-profit, social research organisation that has been carrying out high quality social research for over 50 years. We are commissioned by government and charities to uncover the real views and experiences of people in Britain today. What we find out is used to inform policy and make a difference to the lives of people across the nation.

Why take part?

Taking part in this research will provide you with the opportunity to share your knowledge and insights on the topics of mental health and loneliness. The findings from this research will contribute to the evidence base underpinning the Government’s work on tackling loneliness.

What will taking part involve?

  • The interview will be with a NatCen researcher
  • It will last between 30-45 minutes and take place by telephone or video call
  • Arranged at a suitable date and time for you between the end of January and February 2022
  • Your participation is completely voluntary and you do not have to take part. Even if you agree to take part, you are free to withdraw at any stage of the interview

During the interview you will be asked about your views on how mental health conditions and loneliness interact, as well as the factors that affect this. We will also ask you to reflect on the factors that give rise to specific circumstances that may affect different groups of people differently.

Why have I been selected to take part?

As part of this research, we are going to be engaging expert stakeholders who work in loneliness and mental health. In discussion with DCMS, various organisations and individual experts have been identified as key stakeholders with expertise on this topic.

What will happen to any information I give?

We will treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence under the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). With your consent, we will audio record the interviews so that we have an accurate record of what is said. The recorder is encrypted and the recording will be stored securely on NatCen's computer system in line with data protection legislation. Only the research team will have access to the recordings and the data will be securely deleted at the end of the project.

The data collected will be confidential and only be used for research purposes. NatCen will use your data to inform the next stages of the research project and to write a report for DCMS. No individual or organisation will be identifiable in the research report, however, DCMS may know which organisations have taken part.

We will not share your contact details to third parties. Your personal details will not be held for any longer than is necessary and will securely be deleted within 12 months of the project ending.

Contact us

If you have any further questions, please contact the research team by email MHstudy@natcen.ac.uk or call us on 0207 549 9567.

Privacy notice

For more information on how NatCen will handle your personal information, please refer to the privacy notice.