An increasing number of young people say they feel lonely, which is having a negative impact on their wellbeing, according to a new report.
A study by the Co-op’s charity, the Co-op Foundation, suggested that 1.9 million young people feel “chronically lonely”.
Around one in seven of 2000 people aged 10 to 25 surveyed said they feel lonely often or always, a rise of nearly 400,000 from a year ago, said the report.
Most of the respondents said loneliness had negatively impacted on their mental wellbeing while seven in 10 believed it made them less able to perform well in school or work.
The Co-op said its study also indicated that young people who have ever had free school meals were twice as likely to be chronically lonely compared to those who have not.
Nick Crofts, Co-op Foundation chief executive, said: “The Co-op Foundation has been committed to helping lonely young people thrive for the past five years but despite our best efforts, and the inspiring work of our partners, the report shows there’s more to do.
“We are concerned that chronic youth loneliness has risen by almost a quarter over the past year. The UK will only be able to recover from the dreadful impacts of the pandemic if we support young people.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Government, youth organisations and other funders to tackle youth loneliness, and its direct impact on young people’s wellbeing and skills.”