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How connecting with family can combat loneliness-related mental health problems

How connecting with family can combat loneliness-related mental health problems

Picture of Niall Cullen - Content Marketing Lead
Niall Cullen
9 May 2022

Family history research has helped many members of the Findmypast Community through tough times. Here are some of their stories and the ways we’re helping the Mental Health Foundation tackle loneliness.

From the pandemic through to the cost of living crisis and beyond, it seems like there hasn't been a week that's gone by which hasn’t tested the emotional state of many people in society. Here's how discovering your family history can help with your mental health.

How loneliness affects our mental health

The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week in 2001 to encourage people to focus on their mental health and consider the importance of good mental health.

The past few years have brought many challenges, and have been quite lonely for some. How do you feel like family history has helped your mental health? ❤️

Posted by Findmypast on Monday, April 25, 2022

Whether you take some time during the week for introspective thought or to discuss how you're feeling with others, creating safe spaces to talk in everyday discourse is vital for destigmatising poor mental health.

It has become increasingly apparent that things occurring in the world around us, becoming part of our daily lives and routines, can have a detrimental effect on mental health. A connection to loved ones and the community around us positively impacts mental health significantly, while long-term and extended periods of loneliness are known and understood to have more severe repercussions.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, loneliness was three times higher during lockdowns than pre-pandemic levels. So, while we navigate living with the physical adjustments that come with the pandemic, mental effects also require consideration and support. 

Whether you lived alone throughout lockdowns, found it difficult to connect with your support network or missed out on valuable time and occasions with friends and family, Mental Health Foundation aims to 'bring loneliness into the light'. The aspiration is to strip the theme from any stereotypes and misunderstandings attached, concerning who encounters loneliness and how it impacts mental health.

Why connecting with family through Findmypast can help eliminate loneliness

A person’s family life has strong connections to their mental wellbeing, including how lonely they feel. There are many factors about the makeup of your family that play a part in how likely you are to be lonely. For example, over half of parents with children under five surveyed by the Family and Child Care Trust reported feeling lonely.

Some research also indicates that those who either have no family connections, or are estranged from their family, are at greater risk of loneliness.

When you sign up to Findmypast, we provide you with the tools and resources to connect with your personal history, as well as a web of relatives you may never knew you had going back generations.

Start with your own information, and your family tree will soon come to life before your very eyes, using the extensive collection of unique family records online at Findmypast, from old newspapers to the 1921 Census. Who knows where your past might take you.

Your stories

We often hear from you how family history helps to ease the burden of loneliness. If you’re feeling alone, genealogy research can provide a much-needed focus and distraction or simply a closer sense of connection to our relatives, both those who came before us and the ones still around today.

We asked the Findmypast Community to tell us how exploring their pasts has enriched their present. Not only did they come back with some lovely commentary on how researching their family history helped them during their low moments, but they told us all about the incredible discoveries they've made about their own personal histories. You can read more about this here.

The essential work of the Mental Health Foundation

Improving mental wellbeing by targeting public mental health issues at the source has been the focus of The Mental Health Foundation since 1949. As the UK’s leading mental health charity, MHF focuses on prevention, the scope of which extends to:

  • Community and peer support
  • Mental health research
  • Public engagement and awareness

Pioneering change for over 70 years, MHF has changed the lives of individuals, those at risk, and society as a whole. Thanks to research, studies, and advocacy, the way we understand and address mental health problems continues to improve to this day.

Connecting online after feeling lonely can be an excellent way to begin combatting the symptoms and causes of loneliness, according to mental health charities. Being lonely can make the thought of socialising overwhelming, so forging new family relationships using Findmypast is a great way to take small steps forward, no matter where you are in your mental health journey.