Combating loneliness as a student - Public Health Dorset


Combating loneliness as a student

Arts University Bournemouth student Erin talks about her experiences of loneliness and the steps she has taken to combat that…

Loneliness is a feeling we will all experience at some point in our life. The scale is different for everyone. As a student, feeling lonely can be a constant feeling. Moving to a new place, where you may not know many people – or anyone at all. The initial few weeks as a student can be scary, as you are getting to know people, exploring a new area.

It takes time to open up to people and you might not be comfortable talking to them about specific things, causing you to feel alone with your problems.

As a student with mental health disorders, I experience loneliness constantly. A battle between myself and my brain. Feeling unable to talk to people about anything – slowly distancing myself. Isolating myself from everyone and not being able to do anything. Loneliness can drain the energy out of you – not being able to move out of your bed. Wanting to go out but feeling like you have no one to do anything with, and nervous to go out alone. You may have friends and people who care for you, but sometimes my brain tells me otherwise and I find myself feeling alone.

Ideas for tackling loneliness

The first few days of feeling alone can be difficult. Worry, panic and nerves kick in.

It is okay to reach out if you feel lonely. Maybe try starting a random conversation with fellow flat mates/someone you live with or reach out to someone you have not spoken to for a while.

Learn to enjoy your own company – discover what you like to do as an individual. Read a book, go to the beach, feed animals or even find a local community group dedicated to a hobby.

Support if you’re feeling lonely

As a student there is always support on campus. Talking to staff and reaching out to student services. Joining a society/club can also help with loneliness – surrounding yourself with people and communicating on a regular basis.

Regular events are also held in AUB halls and on campus. Someone will always be there to listen.

A helpline that helps me is a text line called “SHOUT”. To access this helpline text SHOUT to 85258. You get connected to a volunteer and you communicate by text. You can talk to them about anything – no matter what you are feeling.

Being alone can be good for you sometimes but if you feel lonely, know that it is okay to reach out. Mental health matters!


Student support

Arts University Bournemouth and Bournemouth University both provide wellbeing services for students that are confidential, easy to access and completely free.

Find information on wellbeing support for AUB students at

Find information on wellbeing support BU students at


Support helplines and drop-in services

Remember that you’re never alone. There is always someone to talk to. These organisations offer free, confidential support and a listening ear - with no judgement.

  • Connection 24/7 NHS mental health helpline for Dorset: 0800 652 0190
  • Samaritans 24/7 helpline: 116 123 or email
  • Shout 24/7 text service: Text SHOUT to 85258
  • The Retreat at Hahnemann House, Bournemouth - a safe and welcoming environment for anyone over 18 years of age in Dorset who has self-identified their crisis and wants to access support. You can find them at Hahnemann House, Hahnemann Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5JW open daily (16:30-00:00). You can drop in – no appointment needed.

Image by Erin, AUB

Lucy Mears

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