This week is National Mental Health Awareness Week and loneliness is the theme.  Many of us probably have had, to some extent, first-hand experience with the effects of loneliness over the last few years and understand how it impacts our wellbeing.

It is something we should take very seriously.  This is what the Mental Health Foundation had to say about it.

“Loneliness is a significant public health issue.  It remains one of the key indicators of poor mental health, our own reports have shown that being connected to other people in a way that helps us feel valued is absolutely fundamental to protecting our mental health.  Long-term feelings of loneliness have also been shown to be associated with higher rates of mortality and poorer physical health outcomes.”[1]

The article went on to say that multiple studies have found that “the warmth of our relationships throughout life had the greatest impact on our satisfaction and health.”  One of the few “benefits” of the pandemic has been that it has reminded us of our need for each other.

Sue Fourie, Genesis Life Projects Manager, works directly with vulnerable people and has first-hand knowledge of what lonliness can do to a person.

“Loneliness is that gap between the connections that people need and the social connections that they have. People don’t often say the words ‘I am lonely’, but it’s expressed and appears in many other words and forms.  Exacerbated by the pandemic that gap grew ever wider creating more social disconnection from one another and with ourselves and leaving us without the very thing we yearn for the most – A sense of belonging.

At Genesis Life Projects we are grateful to have continued with our face-to-face connections that have been imperative in creating a sense of belonging for our guests.  Face to face allows us to nurture true belonging, real connection, and real empathy, developing quality social, relational, and emotional connections with our guests over the long term.

Relationship building is at the heart of what we do at the Gateway Centre.  A loving community where people feel they belong and matter to one another. Where they can partake of a Life Skills course, a Lifeline one-to-one meeting, a Wednesday breakfast or the Life Course.

It is in our relationships with one another that we can all find healing and a better path forward.’ (Werner landmark study). Sometimes it really is that simple and something we take for granted. Human connection has the power to heal in extraordinary ways.”

The reality is that loneliness isn’t experienced in the same way across every community.  People with long-term physical conditions, on lower incomes  or with existing mental health problems are more likely to experience loneliness compared to the general population.  The people with these issues are people we are supporting.  Our compassionate help is vital to their wellbeing and the consequences, without the loving support network that Genesis Life Projects provides, could lead to isolation and worse, social exclusion.

“For the first time in a very long while, I want to be somewhere and feel like I fit in and can be myself.” Guest comment

“It has helped me work in a group and connect with others with struggles.  It’s helped my confidence and made me feel more worthy within myself.” Guest comment

Let’s not take our community of family, friends and colleagues for granted.  For many people, Genesis Trust is the only loving and supportive community they have and our support is vital for their journey from crisis to independence, from despair to hope.


[1] Mental Health Foundation, ‘Why Loneliness is the Theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022’, Mental Health Foundation, 2022, p.1,