Loneliness among young men highlighted by wellbeing charity Ben

Men may find it harder to make friends and even harder to admit to being lonely, according to wellbeing charity Ben.

Founded in 1905, Ben works with people in the automotive industry and everyone involved shares the same passion, to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Statistics show eight million men feel lonely at least once a week, affecting their mental health, but pride and having no one to turn to mean one in ten would not admit it.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

To save men from suffering in silence, Ben has top tips to help them widen their social circle, from fitness apps to hobbies.

Using Strava helped keen runner Craig Lea to make new friends after he and his wife moved to the country. Picture: Mauricio Mendes

Craig Lea, who received support when he and his wife moved from London to a rural area, said there was no shame in young men admitting they were feeling lonely.

“I do think there is a stereotype around loneliness, which is often only discussed in relation to old people, and certainly not young men,” he added.

“There is nothing wrong in feeling lonely at times and even though you have family around you, it is still possible to feel alone and to miss hanging out with your mates.

“I guess really its guys that need to start the conversation, by openly admitting that we can feel lonely at times.”

Craig, who is in his late-30s, had been living and working in London for many years and enjoyed a fruitful social life. When he and his wife moved to be near her family, he knew nobody else and missed his mates.

He said: “I would say there is no shame in owning up to feeling lonely, it doesn’t make you a loner or suggest that anything is wrong with you.

“It is often situational and so, naturally, when moving to a completely new area there will be a period of time where you are getting to know local people and, therefore, do feel lonely.

“If you are like me and love spending lots of time with friends, it can be especially difficult, so I would just say to make effort in making new mates and starting conversations, whether it’s at the gym or at work, and naturally you will start to make friends in no time.”

Craig decided to use his hobby of running to help him meet new, like-minded people and through joining Strava, a running and cycling social network app, he made a solid group of friends.

Craig said: “I didn’t struggle necessarily in owning up to my loneliness, as I think my wife could already see that I was missing living close to mates and socialising regularly.

“She knew that it was going to be harder for me, compared to her when we moved, as she had grown up in the area where she already has friends and family.

“So, I didn’t find it too difficult but I can understand how it may be challenging if you had no one to voice your feelings, too.”

His wife was completely understanding and suggested ways to meet new people, so Craig could feel at home in a new area.

Visit the Ben website for more information.