Podcast launched to help lift the lid on loneliness

According to the Mental Health Foundation, loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and is a key driver of poor mental health.

By Dawn Renton
Monday, 9th May 2022, 8:49 am
Isla Stewart launched her podcast, ‘Me, Myself, and Isla – Lifting the Lid on Loneliness’ in March this year. (Photo:Paul Glendell)

Their research has unsurprisingly found that loneliness has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and as a result the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year (May 9-16) is ‘Loneliness’.

It was already widely recognised that loneliness was a growing issue before the lockdowns associated with Covid-19, as three years ago the government published a strategy to tackle loneliness and build a more connected society. In addition to the high numbers of people who felt lonely before the pandemic, there are now also those who have lost confidence as a result of it, and who may struggle to reconnect or now feel left behind.

In an attempt to help change the perception of loneliness, and to remind people it’s a normal feeling that most people experience for many different reasons, a new podcast has been launched that allows people to share their experiences and raise awareness.

The podcast was launched in March by Isla Stewart, a marketing and events professional and mental health volunteer based in Aberdeen.

The podcast, ‘Me, Myself, and Isla – Lifting the Lid on Loneliness’, invites people to talk primarily about the various situations that have caused them to feel lonely. In addition, there are conversations around the importance of being able to spend time alone, and why choosing to do so can be a good thing.

Four episodes have been published, with another three scheduled to take place across the next month. So far guests have spoken about loneliness in general, loneliness as a result of serious illness, loneliness during and coming out of lockdown, and the importance of being able to spend time on your own. Topics due to be talked about are loneliness in the farming industry, the joys of being a solo tourist, and using lonely times as a chance to look after yourself and check in with how you are feeling.

Isla said: “I’ve been considering starting a podcast for a little while now but wasn’t sure what I would talk about that could be helpful and wasn’t already out there. I live alone, and so obviously lockdowns were difficult at times, but I knew they were for everyone, regardless of our different situations.

“However around Christmas last year, there were a few days where I felt a little flat and anxious, and it occurred to me that I was feeling lonely. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time I’ve felt this way, but it was the first time I’d stopped to think about it. I felt a bit embarrassed at first, but quickly reached out to my family and friends to let them know, and that really helped. I decided instantly that I’d use this experience as the basis for my podcast, in an attempt to help others who might be feeling that way. I know how lucky I am to have an incredible support network around me, and that not everyone has that, so by having these conversations we hope to offer a different type of support and reassurance.”

The podcast is available at www.memyselfandisla.podbean.com and Spotify and Amazon Music. If you are interested on sharing your story, contact Isla on [email protected]