Loneliness and Mental Illness


Based on interviews with 7,461 adults randomly selected from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey in England, researchers found that interventions addressing maladaptive social cognition were more beneficial as an intervention for loneliness than increasing social support and opportunities for social interaction. Results will appear in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Abstract → 

Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” Editor:
Someone once said to me “They’re making me go to a social phobia support group. Great. We all just sit around staring at each other.”
That’s why I’m including this.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Now I cant read too much into this as the link took me to a very brief summary. However, I will add my experience of a mental health day centre which concentrates on activities (ie increasing opportunities for social interaction) such as playing board games and playing pool and sitting around chatting to peer supporters.

    I don’t notice people moving on or getting much better.

    The ones that do get better have the kind of intense social support that comes from good counselling, or good group work or really good friends. So that is the kind of conversation and support where ones attitudes and ideas can be reviewed, where the traumas that caused people to withdraw and the subsequent attitudes that came after the trauma can be looked at in a safe and encouraging manner.

    Debt and divorce and all the other things mentioned in the study can cause one to loose confidence in oneself. Being around people can sometimes help one realise that it was not really all your fault and that not everyone is going to treat you as badly as the people who have treated you badly in the past, but talking things over can help a whole lot more.

    This is my conclusion anyway. Comments and discussion welcome (it whiles away the lonely nights in my solitary bedsit – irony, irony. In fact I’m ill and am a bit isolated this week, but won’t let it go on for ever)

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